Inspection results from this year's CVSA unannounced Brake Safety Day show improvements over 2019, but inspectors noted a troubling number of brake hose and tubing violations. -

Inspection results from this year's CVSA unannounced Brake Safety Day show improvements over 2019, but inspectors noted a troubling number of brake hose and tubing violations.

The out-of-service rate for this year's unannounced Brake Safety Day, conducted July 19 across North America, showed a nearly 4% improvement over 2019 (the last year there was a inspection blitz). The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance reports 1,273 trucks were sidelined because of brake-related critical vehicle inspection items this year compared to 1,667 trucks in 2019.

This year, CVSA conducted 10,091 inspections across Canada (946, 11.4% out-of-service), Mexico (487, 2.9% OOS) and the U.S (8,658, 13.3% OOS), resulting in a North American out-of-service rate of 12.6%. Last year's overall OOS rate was 16.1%.

Fourteen vehicles were removed from roadways in Mexico for brake violations. In Canada, 108 vehicles were placed out-of-service for brake violations, and in the U.S., 1,151 vehicles were sidelined due to brake violations.

“Inspectors conducted their usual inspections and reported brake-related data to CVSA for Brake Safety Day,” said CVSA President and Delware State Police Sgt. John Samis in a press release. “We are sharing the results to call attention to the importance of commercial motor vehicle brake safety.”

CVSA places a high priority on brake system function and condition because they are critical to vehicle safety. Despite that focus, brake-related violations continue to dominate vehicle out-of-service conditions. Brake system violations was the top vehicle out-of-service category during last year’s three-day International Roadcheck commercial motor vehicle and driver inspection and enforcement safety initiative.

Brake system violations at Roadcheck 2020 were 3,163 vehicles out of 12,254 inspections, or 25.8%.

Inspectors Focus on Brake Hoses, Tubing

Inspectors compiled and reported data specifically on chaffed or damaged brake hoses and tubing this year. Broken out by country: Canada reported 251 chafing violations, Mexico reported 186 and the U.S. reported 1,288 -- with is roughly proportionate to each jurisdiction's overall number of inspections and overall vehicle populations.

  •  Inspection data revealed a total of 664 (38%) Category 1 violations, defined as brake hose/tubing wear that had extended into the outer protective material. This is not an out-of-service condition.
  • There were 509 (30%) Category 2 violations, meaning wear had extended through the brake hose/tubing outer protective material into the outer rubber cover. Category 2 violations are not out-of-service conditions.
  • Inspectors saw 275 (16%) Category 3 violations, where the wear makes the reinforcement ply visible, but the ply is still intact. This is not an out-of-service condition.
  • A category 4 violation is when the reinforcement ply is visible and the ply is completely frayed, severed, or cut through. Inspectors recorded 169 (10%) such violations. Vehicles with Category 4 chafed hose conditions were placed out of service.
  • Brake hose/tubing wear for Category 5 violations is when wear extends through the reinforcement ply to the inner rubber layer. Such violations accounted for 108 (6%) of the trucks inspected. A Category 5 violation is an out-of-service condition.
 - Graph: CVSA

Graph: CVSA

“Brake hoses and tubing are essential brake system components and must be properly attached, undamaged, without leaks and flexible,” Samis said. “We chose to focus on brake hoses/tubing this year in an effort to reduce deaths and injuries as a result of commercial motor vehicle brake-system failures from pressure or vacuum loss due to brake hose/tubing deficiencies.”

Performance-Based Brake Testers

Some jurisdictions in the U.S. use performance-based brake testers (PBBT) as part of their vehicle inspection process. A PBBT is a machine that assesses the braking performance of a vehicle. On Brake Safety Day, 68 PBBT tests were conducted. Four percent (about three vehicles) of PBBT-tested commercial motor vehicles were placed out of service for insufficient brake performance.

Brake Safety Day is the Alliance’s unannounced brake safety initiative; however, CVSA also holds Brake Safety Week each year and announces those dates publicly well in advance. This year’s Brake Safety Week is scheduled for Aug. 22-28.

 - Photo: Jim Park

Photo: Jim Park

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