Truck drivers in California and around the country are more likely to be pulled over for safety inspections between Sept. 15 and Sept. 21 during the annual Brake Safety Week initiative organized by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. The safety blitz is part of the ongoing North American Operation Airbrake Program being run by the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration in partnership with the CVSA.

Brake Safety Week is important because defective or poorly maintained tractor-trailer braking systems pose a serious threat to road users. Almost half of the out of service orders issued during the 2018 International Roadcheck safety initiative were for braking system problems, and six of the FMCSA’s 20 most common truck and bus violations are brake-related.

During this year’s Brake Safety Week, inspectors will be paying particularly close attention to air brake hoses and tubing as even small leaks or holes can be dangerous. The braking systems of semi-tractor trailers pulled over in 14 jurisdictions will evaluated using sophisticated performance-based brake testers that are capable of measuring braking force and efficiency relative to total gross vehicle weight. Trucks weighing over 10,000 pounds with brakes operating at below 43.5% efficiency will be ordered out of service for violating FMCSA regulations and CVSA standards.

Commercial vehicle inspectors may also be called upon by experienced personal injury attorneys pursing lawsuits on behalf of truck accident victims. Semi-tractor trailer inspections could uncover evidence of inadequate repairs, defective parts or shoddy maintenance that could be used to encourage truck operators to settle these matters at the negotiating table or establish negligence in court.