Quick Guide to Brake Safety

In order to drive your commercial vehicle, it needs to be inspected. This is done to ensure that all vehicles that are on the road are as safe as possible. The CVSA's Brake Safety Week is proceeding as planned on August 23-28 this year. Brake safety is just as important all year as it is this week.

What Is CVSA Brake Safety Week?

CVSA Brake Safety Week, sponsored by the CVSA, is a week-long event that focuses on the importance of brake safety. It is part of the Operation Airbrake Program and is sponsored by the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

If you are a commercial driver, you can expect to find enforcement officials on the road until August 28. They are conducting inspections, primarily focusing on the braking systems of all commercial vehicles. However, they are inspecting the whole vehicle as well. If your vehicle is in violation of any safety codes, you will be prohibited from driving it until it is fixed.

Officials are also using this time to educate drivers and mechanics about the importance of proper brake maintenance. They are there to discuss safety measures with drivers and mechanics during this time.

Types of Inspections Taking Place During Brake Safety Week

Enforcement officials are conducting the North American Standard Level I Inspection. This is a thirty-seven step inspection, looking at both driver operating requirements and vehicle mechanical fitness.

They are looking at the following:

  • Inspection of brakes and their components (rotors, hoses, air chambers, pads, drums, etc.)

  • Air and hydraulic leaks

  • Seat belts

  • Vehicle inspection report(s)

  • Lights

  • Steering

  • Frame

  • Suspension

  • Windshield wipers

  • Tires

  • The load that they are carrying

  • And much more

You might also be facing an inspection using performance-based brake testing (PBBT) equipment. This measures your vehicle braking efficiency, which means that they are looking at the cumulative brake force for the entire vehicle. It gets dividing by the weight of the vehicle to see how well it can stop. The minimum requirement is forty-three and a half percent and is regulated by the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and the CVSA North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria.

Why Focus on Brake Safety?

Brakes (and hoses) are essential for safety on the roads. Many accidents occur due to faulty brakes. Not only that, good brakes and their components help to ensure the lifespan of your parts and assets, which is also good for your bottom line.

In fact, in May of 2019, there was a safety blitz and more than sixteen percent of all inspected trucks were found to have had brake problems. Many of these violations were actually due to hoses and tubing, which is just as important as the brakes.

Due to this reality, inspection officials are now focusing on the tubing and hoses around the brake system.

How to Prepare for a Vehicle Inspection and Ensure Brake Safety

Here are some tips to make sure you are always prepared for a vehicle inspection.

Go Over the Entire Brake System Before Your Next Trip

If you want to ensure that your vehicle will pass an inspection/meet safety requirements, look for leaks, loose hoses, and any other problems that the officials will be looking for.

Have Fleet Maintenance Systems in Place

The truth is that you need to implement a good preventative maintenance process year round. By taking care of your vehicles properly and checking them over regularly, you will identify problems early, instead of waiting until you are stuck on the side of the road.

So, what types of maintenance systems should you have in place?

  • Change the oil and check fluids regularly. You don’t want to run out of oil or any of the other important fluids that you need so your truck runs smoothly.

  • For the brakes, check the tubing and the hoses regularly. You should replace any hoses, pads, drums, and rotors as they wear.

  • Check for air and hydraulic fluid leaks.

Have Your Drivers Inspect Their Trucks Daily Before Leaving

If you want to make sure that your vehicles are running at the top level, you are going to want to make sure that your drivers do a thorough daily vehicle inspection report (DVIR).

This includes inspecting tires, fluids, and tubing. Drivers need to make sure that the lights appear to be working, as well as the brakes. It’s also always important to check air pressure before every trip.


In addition, drivers need to keep all of their paperwork with them, including their commercial drivers license, along with their current DOT physical information. They should also keep their driving records in the truck, as well as the registration and annual DOT inspection. They will need to hand this in during the inspection in the event and they get pulled over.

Electronic DVIRs

With electronic DVIRs, you can receive real-time fault notifications, enabling you to address issues quickly.

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