The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) brake safety week was held 23 through 29 August 2020, and they recently released the results. The CVSA is an organization of commercial vehicle inspectors from the US, Mexico, and Canada focusing on trucking fleet safety.
Commercial Vehicles Placed Out-of-Service (OOS)
Out of the 43,565 commercial vehicles across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico that had their brake system checked, 5,156 were found to have severe enough brake problems to be removed from service until the repairs were made. That is twelve percent of the fleet vehicles inspected.
The DOT and FMCSA believes these inspections and OOS orders were warranted to reduce brake-related collisions, save lives and prevent severe injuries from faulty brakes. Sergeant John Samis, the CVSA President, said, “With truck drivers designated ‘essential personnel’ by the government, we needed to ensure that the vehicles traversing our roadways were safe to support commercial drivers as they selflessly continued to work during such a difficult and challenging time.”
How Drivers Can Check their Commercial Vehicle Brakes
An 80,000-pound truck’s air-brakes are essential for these combination vehicles' safe operation; even a minor air leak can lead to air brake failure. Therefore, inspection and maintenance are vital to keeping these systems operating correctly.
Checking the brake must be a part of the pre and post-trip driver’s vehicle inspection report (DVIR). Post-trip DVIRs are mandatory and must be logged into the ELD and shortcomings corrected before the vehicle can be dispatched for another trip, or the mechanic must sign-off when there is no repair necessary.
First, park the truck on level pavement, away from traffic, chock the tires, and start it up to get the air pressure to normal operating settings. After depressing the red and yellow brake buttons, hold the pedal down for a full minute. Monitor the pressure gauge for pressure loss; you should not lose more than three psi.
Now, pump the brakes and watch the primary and secondary air gauge. When the pressure decreases below safe levels, the indicator light should blink, and the warning buzzer should sound. Continue pumping the brakes until the pressure reaches approximately 90 psi, and the red trailer brake button pops out. Then, pump the brakes until the yellow tractor button pops out. Repressurize the system, set the parking brake, and retrieve the chocks.
To prevent water buildup in the brake lines, drain the air tank reservoir after a few days.
If you receive a traffic citation, CDL holders should consult a traffic attorney before deciding how to resolve the alleged violation. Many commercial vehicle traffic tickets can be dismissed or reduced to no-point violations that could keep your PSP and CA MVR clean and your career safe.
Bigger & Harman, APC, Can Resolve Commercial Vehicle and Fleet Violations
Call Bigger & Harman, (661) 349-9300, when you need assistance with commercial vehicle violations and traffic tickets. Se habla Español (661) 349-9755.
As practicing traffic law attorneys, we can also assist with DMV NOTS Hearings to get objects removed from your CA motor vehicle driving record (MVR) or Pre-Employment Screening Program (PSP) record. Additionally, we can help get more leeway for NOTS points before suspension due to increased risk because of miles driven.
The 2019 CA Commercial Driver Handbook.pdf
The Transport Topics article, 12% of Vehicles Inspected Placed Out-of-Service
The It Still Runs article, How to Check Truck Air Brakes