How to Navigate Through Brake Safety Week
Brake Safety Week is a program dedicated to improving commercial vehicle brake safety throughout North America to reduce the number of highway crashes caused by faulty brake systems. Since 1998, the CVSA has conducted roadside inspections educating drivers, mechanics, and owner-operators on the importance of proper brake inspection, maintenance and operation. “Brake Safety Week shines a light on our current safety practices. It encourages the principles and habits of being prepared and aware at any time, not just when there is an inspection or accident,” says Sheldon Wheeler, Corporate Driver Service and Fleet Safety Manager at The Erb Group.
In 2021, 35,764 commercial motor vehicles were inspected during Brake Safety Week. Twelve percent of those vehicles were restricted from travel because inspectors found brake-related critical inspection item conditions and placed those vehicles out of service. Brake Safety Week is not just a reminder for drivers to keep up with the mechanical integrity of their trucks. Sheldon explains, “It’s also for the individuals in front or behind our trucks that don’t know what traffic is like or how to merge around larger vehicles properly. Our practices need to be the best because the practices of others are not always promised.”
This year’s focus is on brake hose leaks and chafing. Inspectors will look for missing, non-functioning, loose, contaminated or cracked parts on the brake system and non-manufactured holes (such as rust and holes created by rubbing or friction). Sheldon has shared his top three safety tips for drivers and how they can lead with a safety mindset beyond Brake Safety Week.
Getting into an inspection routine familiarizes and encourages drivers to be more prepared to check specific truck components and equipment. We do our best to prepare our drivers for any unexpected surprises by implementing a tagging program that gets them into a routine of inspecting their fleet for potential problem areas. When you become comfortable with your environment, you may overlook things; however, when someone else with fresh eyes is in that environment, they may notice something you didn’t. Conducting personal inspections also allows drivers to learn what they need to be more aware of before heading out on the road.
We recommend taking advantage of the outreach and educational opportunities that provide renewed air brake knowledge, inspection skills and heightened awareness to our drivers to help reduce the risk of safety for drivers and others on the road. During Brake Safety Week, we remind our drivers of upcoming inspections, what they should know and what they can do to ensure they are ready for whatever lies ahead. “Inexperienced drivers or drivers who haven’t yet been through a lot of inspections throughout their careers could benefit from being refreshed on what the CVSA standards are and how the inspectors will confirm the air brake components are in proper working order,” says Sheldon.
When in doubt, ask other drivers, fleet maintenance or Driver Services for help! It’s okay to ask for more information or support. We encourage a coaching mentality when it comes to safety. Brake Safety Week is an excellent opportunity for drivers to be in an environment where they can strengthen their knowledge or ask questions if there is any uncertainty. Developing a solid understanding of your truck, its components, and how they work, along with working together with your maintenance team, can maximize the safe operation of your truck.
Our priority is the safety and well-being of our employees and others on the road. At the end of the day, we want you and everyone around you to make it home safely. For additional resources and information about Brake Safety Week, see the links below or call and schedule a time to talk to Driver Services.
Brake Safety Resources