Truck Brake Safety Week: Why It Matters

The following is excerpted from a post by Steve Vaughn on with some particulars about the upcoming CVSA TRuck Brake Safety Week and some information on the latest statistics on brake safety and how to pass inspection this August.

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has set this year’s Brake Safety Week for Aug. 22-28. Throughout the week commercial motor vehicle inspectors will focus on truck brake systems and components. Every North American Standard Inspection includes brakes, so why devote a full week to them? Let’s start with the numbers:

  • During the 2020 International Roadcheck, brake adjustment violations accounted for 38.6% of all vehicle out-of-service violations, more than any other category.
  • A look at the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s “Large Truck and Bus Crash Facts” shows brake systems rank as the third most cited vehicle factor in fatal crashes.
  • In 2020, brake-related problems occupied eight of FMCSA’s top 20 vehicle violations.
  • When CVSA conducted Brake Safety Week last year, 12% of 43,565 inspected CMVs were placed out-of-service due to braking issues.

Numbers don’t lie. But real-life stories showing the human cost of brake failure brings the message home:

According to a 2002 National Transportation Safety Board press release, “Three school children died on May 31, 2001, when a truck-tractor semitrailer exited Interstate 540 near Mountainburg, Arkansas, failed to stop at the bottom of the ramp, and collided with a school bus. Post-accident examination showed that eight of the truck’s 10 brakes were either out of adjustment or nonfunctional, with four of them unable to provide any braking force.”

Related post:
Hoses, Tubing Focus of Brake Safety Week Aug. 22-28

Massachusetts got more involved in brake inspections when a gravel truck went through a house.

Connecticut took braking more seriously after a dump truck killed multiple people.

A truck with bad brakes caused a relatively minor accident in Boston, but the resulting lawsuit led to tremendous damages against the motor carrier.

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FMCSA has detailed regulations on the maintenance and inspection of brakes. Every truck driver and every motor carrier should know and understand the importance of correctly measuring pushrod stroke, among other requirements, to determine whether brakes are in adjustment. The facts, however, speak otherwise:

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The Brake Report
The Brake Report

The BRAKE Report is an online media platform dedicated to the automotive and commercial vehicle brake segments. Our mission is to provide the global brake community with the latest news & headlines from around the industry.