Inspectors Will Focus on Brake Linings and Pad Violations
Inspectors will focus on brake linings and pad violations at this summer’s Brake Safety Week, scheduled for Aug. 20-26.
During the special enforcement effort, commercial motor vehicle inspectors will highlight the importance of brake systems by conducting inspections of their components and removing trucks and buses from roadways found to have brake-related out-of-service violations. They will remain off the road until the violations are corrected.
Throughout Brake Safety Week, Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance-certified inspectors will conduct their usual inspections. However, in addition, they will be reporting brake-related inspection and violation data to CVSA, which will compile that data and publish the results this fall.
“The focus of this year’s Brake Safety Week is on the condition of the brake lining and pads,” said CVSA President, Maj. Chris Nordloh with the Texas Department of Public Safety. “Brake lining and pad issues may result in vehicle violations and could affect a motor carrier’s safety rating.”
When inspectors conduct the brake portion of a Level I or Level V Inspection, they will:
- Check for missing, non-functioning, loose or cracked parts.
- Check for contaminated, worn, cracked and missing linings or pads.
- Check for S-cam flipover.
- Listen for audible air leaks around brake components and lines.
- Check that slack adjusters are the same length (from center of S-cam to center of clevis pin) and the air chambers on each axle are the same size.
- Ensure the brake system maintains air pressure between 90-100 psi (620-690 kPa) and measure pushrod travel.
- Inspect for non-manufactured holes (e.g., rust holes, holes created by rubbing or friction, etc.) and broken springs in the spring brake housing section of the parking brake.
- Inspect required brake system warning devices, such as anti-lock braking system malfunction lamp(s) and low air-pressure warning devices.
- Inspect the tractor protection system, including the bleedback system on the trailer.
- Ensure the breakaway system is operable on the trailer.
Brake safety awareness, education and outreach are major elements of the Brake Safety Week campaign.
By being transparent, CVSA aims to remind drivers and motor carriers to take proactive steps to ensure their commercial motor vehicles are safe and compliant with Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations. Improperly installed or poorly maintained brake systems can reduce the braking capacity and stopping distance of trucks or buses, posing a serious safety risk.
To prepare, motor carriers and drivers should check CVSA’s vehicle inspection checklist for details on the brake portion of a Level I and Level V Inspection. They also should download CVSA’s 2023 Brake Safety Week flyer for 10 tips on keeping their brake linings and pads healthy, and view inspection procedures and previous brake-safety campaign results.
They also can check CVSA’s eight latest inspection bulletins, which provide important information to augment the existing inspection program.
CVSA’s Operation Airbrake Program is dedicated to improving commercial vehicle brake safety throughout North America. The goal is to reduce the number of highway crashes caused by faulty braking systems on commercial motor vehicles by conducting roadside inspections and educating drivers, mechanics, owner-operators and others on the importance of proper brake inspection, maintenance and operation.
During Brake Safety Day in April, 6,829 commercial motor vehicles were inspected throughout Canada, Mexico and the U.S. Inspectors found brake-related critical vehicle inspection items on 11.3% of the vehicles inspected, indicating they were unfit and unsafe for roadways. As a result, inspectors restricted those 773 commercial motor vehicles from travel until the violations were corrected.
Due to litigation over the past several years, many shippers and brokers are modifying how they do business. Like insurance companies, they are becoming concerned with the risks posed by potentially unsafe motor carriers.
This trend means they are now avoiding carriers with questionable safety records. So how do you prevent this from happening to your operation? First, understand shipper concerns and risk. Then, work towards being seen as a safe carrier.
What is Happening?
Under Tort Law, the plaintiff needs to prove:
- There was a duty to act,
- The defendant did not live up to the duty (they were negligent and failed to do what a reasonable person would have done),
- There was a real injury or loss, and
- The failure to act is what led to the injury or loss.
Liability can be assigned to anyone involved in the loss through various principles, including vicarious liability under the theory of respondeat superior (a superior, such as an employer or hiring entity, is responsible for the actions of the subordinate) and joint and several liability (the parties involved are inseparable when it comes to the injury).
Person vs. Broker (Miller vs. Robinson)
In this landmark case, a court determined that a broker was liable for hiring an unsafe carrier. The unsafe carrier was involved in a crash, resulting in severe injuries.
During the proceedings, the broker claimed they verified the carrier was licensed and properly credentialed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), meaning they had followed their duty to act.
They also claimed they were exempt from the claim due to the Federal Aviation Administration Authorization Act of 1994, as the practice of allowing state courts to decide such cases runs afoul of the preemption of state laws related to a price, route, or service of carriers and brokers. Both arguments were unsuccessful from the local court to the supreme court.
As a result of this case (and others since), many brokers and shippers are becoming more selective in the carriers they use.
As risk-averse shippers and brokers trend toward using FMCSA-provided data to make decisions, this is where the answer lies.
To avoid being painted as a potentially unsafe carrier, you need to:
o Ensure your drivers obey the safety regulations, especially the hours-of-service regulations.
o Track your drivers’ qualifications and performance.
o Have an effective vehicle maintenance program.
o Review your roadside inspections for accuracy.
- Take steps to avoid crashes:
o Create realistic delivery schedules. Using vehicle tracking devices can help you give your customers accurate delivery estimates.
o Adjust operations to poor conditions.
o Have safe and well-trained drivers (including doing specific defensive driving training).
o Track your drivers’ performance and skills using dash cameras.
o Allow only safe vehicles on the roadway.
Remember, you want to be viewed as a safe carrier by all shippers and brokers. If you are not, you may suddenly find it harder to find and keep customers.
The U.S. Department of Transportation (U.S. DOT) is hosting an online “5.9 GHz Safety Band Stakeholder Forum: Leveraging Existing V2X Investments in a Changing Spectrum Environment” to discuss the Federal Communication Commission (FCC) First Report and Order, which significantly reduced the amount of spectrum available for vehicle-to-everything (V2X) applications in the Safety Band. The event is scheduled for December 16, 2020, from 3:00 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. ET.
As the U.S. DOT continues to evaluate the safe, secure, efficient, and interoperable use of the 5.9 GHz spectrum for transportation safety, it is critical that we garner input from industry, the public, and government partners, as well as other stakeholders. We recognize that stakeholders seek to derive as much value as possible from current deployments, minimize investment losses, and/or realize V2X technology’s intended safety and mobility benefits despite deployment challenges.
This forum serves to identify areas that can assist deployers, developers, and investors in V2X technologies in next steps for the use of the 5.9 GHz spectrum for transportation safety and congestion mitigation. The Department seeks to gain a greater understanding of industry leaders’ current and future investment strategies and to discuss participants’ views on considerations for fostering the most efficient use of V2X spectrum and continued progress toward life-saving deployments.
This conference is open to the general public by pre-registration only.
To attend, please register by December 15, 2020.
Date: Wednesday, December 16, 2020
Time: 3:00 p.m. to 4:15 p.m. ET
Registration Deadline: December 15, 2020
Advance questions are encouraged. Please submit questions through the registration link, or you may email 5.9GHzSpectrum@dot.gov.
To learn more about the 5.9 GHz Safety Band, please visit: www.transportation.gov/content/safety-band.
9 AM – 10:30 AM EDT
Topics will include:
- The purpose of roadside inspections.
- Why it is imperative to successfully pass these inspections.
- How motor carriers and drivers must prepare for inspections and what to do if selected.
- What to do following the inspection
- How to properly DataQ. How to lower CSA scores.
Learn more and register for the webinar.
Seminars will discuss the four key revisions to the existing HOS Rules:
•The 30-minute break rule requiring a break after 8 hours of consecutive driving
•The sleeper-berth exception to allow drivers to split their required 10 hours off duty into two periods
•The adverse driving conditions exception
•Changes to the short-haul exception available to certain commercial drivers
Dates & Times
September 10, 2020 @ 9:00AM
September10, 2020 @ 1:00PM
September 22, 2020 @ 9:00AM
September 22, 2020 @ 1:00PM
To Register for a Seminar, go to:
FMCSA announces a public meeting: “The FMCSA 2020 Trucking Safety
Summit.” This meeting will be held virtually on August 5, 2020, to solicit information on improving the safe operation of property-carrying commercial motor vehicles on our Nation’s roadways.
The virtual meeting will provide interested stakeholders—including
motor carriers, drivers, safety technology developers and users, Federal and State partners, safety advocacy groups—as well as members of the public—an opportunity to share their ideas on improving trucking safety.
The event will be hosted virtually by FMCSA from the U.S. Department of Transportation headquarters building in Washington, D.C.
DATES: The virtual public meeting will be held Wednesday, August 5, 2020, from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., EDT.
A full agenda of the meeting is available online at
Learn more or sign up here.