Safety & Compliance

Brake Safety Week Is On: Here are Some Tips

September 10, 2013

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Today's Trucking---30,000 brakes will be inspected on trucks across North America through Saturday, and not all will pass.

The annual Brake Safety Week held by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance will see inspectors taking a closer look at brake systems on your trucks.

Six specific items will be targeted for inspection: driver’s license, registration, low air warning device pushrod travel (adjustment), brake linings/drums, leaks/air loss rate, and tractor protection system.

It's not just inspections that will be happening this week, either. According to CVSA, the primary causes for drivers not adjusting brakes is a lack of education and not having the proper commitment to safety. Dubbed Operation Air Brake, inspectors from various jurisdication will also be handing out educational material to drivers and fleets.

There's lots of educational resources online, too. For one, Bendix has a couple of educational videos you can download here.

Moreover, Bendix offered some advice to carriers:

“With the federal Reduced Stopping Distance mandate now in full effect, fleets need to pay close attention to the issue of replacement brake lining performance and RSD compliance,” said Gary Ganaway, director of marketing and global customer solutions for Bendix Spicer Foundation Brake LLC Ganaway. “Because not all replacement friction marketed as acceptable under RSD will actually perform to the standard, fleets should ask for evidence of compliance from their friction supplier when replacing the friction on their RSD-equipped trucks.”

Bendix measured the 60 mph stopping distance of a mandate-compliant vehicle with OEM brakes and high performance linings. They then replaced the friction with multiple non-high performance original equipment and aftermarket materials that had passed the FMVSS 121 dyno test, but were not suitable for mandate compliance.

"With nothing else changed, the vehicle’s stopping distance increased from 215 feet using the high performance friction to 311 feet with the worst-performing aftermarket replacement friction — a stunning 45 percent decrease in performance," Bendix noted. That's a 96-foot difference.

Bendix also recommended protecting a vehicle’s air system from contamination as being crucial to maintaining a safe and effective air brake system.

"Oil, in particular, can be very harmful to an air system, contributing to premature damage in a variety of components such as spring brake modulating valves and brake chamber diaphragms. And oil-deteriorated seals can cause air system leaks – a target of Operation Air Brake inspections."

And if you're brake systems are in working order, you can also read owner-operator Dan Dickey's blog on not using your brakes.

Brake Safety Week runs from September 8 to 14. You can find out more at the CVSA website here.

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