Truck drivers in the United States and Canada have been more diligent about ensuring their brakes are in working order, data from the latest roadside inspection campaign show.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) placed out of service 13.5% (4,626) of the 34,320 trucks it inspected during the association's Brake Safety Week, Sept. 15-21. That compares with an out-of-service rate of roughly 14.2% during Brake Safety Week in 2018 and a rate of 16.1% during a smaller, unannounced brake safety roadway inspection check CVSA conducted in May 2019.
Trucks are placed out of service during roadside inspections if an inspector finds "critical vehicle inspection item violations" that must be corrected before the truck is allowed back on the road.
"Inspectors conduct more than 4 million roadside inspections every year, and checking brake components is just one element of the inspection procedure inspectors perform on commercial motor vehicles every day," said CVSA President John Samis, a sergeant with the Delaware State Police.
"This inspection and enforcement event reminds drivers and motor carriers of the importance of properly functioning brakes and spotlights the work done by inspectors, motor carriers and drivers every day to keep our roadways safe by ensuring vehicles are in appropriate working condition."
During the most recent national roadside inspections, 49 jurisdictions conducted 31,864 inspections in the U.S., with 4,344 (13.6%) commercial motor vehicles placed out of service due to brake-related violations. In Canada, 11 jurisdictions conducted 2,456 roadside inspections, with 282 (11.5%) commercial vehicles placed out of service.
Data collected on brake hoses and tubing found that 2,567 units had chafed rubber hose violations, and 1,347 units had chafed thermoplastic hose violations.
CVSA pointed to recent National Highway Traffic Safety Administration statistics showing that in 2018 there was a 2.4% drop in overall fatalities on U.S. roads but a 0.9% increase in large-truck-related fatalities.
"While we applaud the decrease in the overall number of fatalities on our roadways last year, we're alarmed by the increase in the number of large-truck-related fatalities," Samis said. "CVSA conducts high-profile, high-visibility enforcement events, such as Brake Safety Week, to reduce the number of fatalities occurring on our roadways. Roadway safety is our number one priority and we will continue our efforts to improve brake safety throughout North America."