Commercial vehicle inspectors participating in the recent Brake Safety Week found at least one in seven vehicles chosen for inspection had brake-related out-of-service violations, according to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.

Brake Safety Week, which was held Sept. 9-15, is the annual enforcement and education campaign focused on regulatory compliance of truck and bus brake system maintenance. The rates seen this year are comparable to recent years, but slightly higher for the second year in a row.

Of the vehicles inspected Sept. 9-15, the OOS rate for all brake-related violations was 15.3%. This is higher than in 2011, 2010 and 2009 (at 14.2%, 13.5%, and 15.1%, respectively), but lower than in 2008 and 2007 (18.4% and 17.8% respectively).

The OOS rates for inspections in Canada were lower than in the United States, which is consistent with previous findings, and resulted in 10.8% of vehicles being placed OOS for brakes, compared to 15.3% in the U.S. This year, 9.6% of vehicles inspected in the U.S. during Brake Safety Week were placed OOS for poor brake adjustment, compared to 5.5% in Canada.

"Commercial vehicles with OOS violations are considered imminent hazards to highway safety. Stopping distances of trucks and buses are longer than passenger cars and they increase significantly with many of the brake violations found during these inspections," said CVSA Executive Director Stephen A. Keppler. "The good news is that eight of ten trucks were compliant, however, the slight increase in out-of-service violations is troubling. Our goal is safe vehicles, drivers and roadways. We will not tolerate anything less than 100% compliance with the safety rules of our roads," said Keppler.

CVSA members conduct approximately four million safety inspections each year. Brakes are always part of a comprehensive North American Standard Level I inspection that are conducted at any time throughout the year. During Brake Safety Week, federal, state, provincial and local safety inspectors across North America conduct Level I inspections and special Level IV inspections that focus on specific safety concerns, such as brake systems.

Brake Safety Week is part of the Operation Airbrake program sponsored by CVSA and the U.S. Department of Transportation's Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

"Bad brakes on a large truck or bus are a danger to all motorists," said FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro. "Brake Safety Week is a timely reminder for those who cut corners on brake safety that we are watching."

FMCSA's mission is to prevent crashes, injuries and fatalities involving large trucks and commercial buses.

Brake Safety Week is one of the major efforts of the ongoing Operation Air Brake campaign, which is an international effort dedicated to preventing truck and bus crashes and saving lives throughout North America. Its importance is underscored by the fact that brakes were cited as an associated factor in nearly three of 10 commercial vehicle crashes, according to the most recent Large Crash Causation study.

Overall Brake Safety Week 2012 results at-a-glance

- 21,255 vehicles were inspected. This is fewer than the record 30,872 vehicles in 2011.
- 1,993 or 9.4% of vehicles were placed OOS for brake adjustment (8.4% in 2011, 8.9% in 2010).
- 1,664 or 7.8% of vehicles were placed OOS for brake components (7.9% in 2011, 8.0% in 2010).
- 3,248 or 15.3% of vehicles were placed OOS for brakes overall (14.2% in 2011, 13.5% in 2010).

Over 2.6 million brakes have been inspected in the 15 years since the program's inception.