Brake Safety Week Captures Snapshot of Industry’s Compliance Rate

Brake Adjustment, Component Out-of-Service Defects Drop, Overall OOS Rate for Brakes Up

For the second year in a row, commercial vehicle inspectors conducted a record number of inspections during Operation Air Brake’s “Brake Safety Week”. Each year enforcement data gathered from across the continent provides a snapshot of the industry’s rate of compliance, while highlighting areas that need continued focus with regards to brake safety regulations and relevant maintenance practices. This year, although the number of out-of-service (OOS) defects for both brake adjustment and brake components are down slightly, the overall OOS rate for brakes rose.

“Brakes continue to be the number one OOS defect, and Brake Safety Week is a reminder of the critical importance they serve in the safe operation of commercial vehicles,” said Stephen A. Keppler, CVSA’s executive director. “The Operation Air Brake campaign remains the premier joint effort among federal, state, and local commercial vehicle enforcement and industry to promote commercial vehicle brake safety.”

Brake Safety Week is a prominent event of the Operation Air Brake campaign, an ongoing, international effort dedicated to improving truck and bus brake safety throughout North America. Brake Safety Week took place this year, from September 11-17. Its importance is underscored by the fact that brakes were cited in 29.4 percent of crashes as an associate factor in the crash, according to the Large Crash Causation study conducted in 2006.

Overall results show:

  • 30,872 vehicles inspected in 2011. This exceeds the 2010 mark of 30,472 vehicles, the previous record inspected, since the program started in 1998.
  • 2,605 or 8.4% of vehicles were placed OOS for brake adjustment (8.9% in 2010, 9.0% in 2009).
  • 2,453 (or 7.9%) of vehicles were placed OOS for brake components (8.0% in 2010, 9.2% in 2009).
  • 4,385 (or 14.2%) of vehicles were placed OOS for brakes overall (13.5% in 2010, 15.1% in 2009).

The Operation Air Brake campaign exists, in part, to reduce the out-of-service rate for brake-related defects. This Selective Traffic Enforcement Program (STEP) model has been used successfully in other areas of traffic safety, and is being employed throughout North America to focus on the very important issue of brake safety and regulatory compliance. The Operation Air Brake Campaign was developed and initiated by Canada in 1998.

The OOS rates for Canada were again lower than in the U.S. for 2011. This year, 8.7% of vehicles inspected in the U.S. during Brake Safety Week were placed OOS for poor brake adjustment, compared to 3.7% in Canada. Inspections in Canada resulted in 7.3% of vehicles being placed out of service for brakes, compared to 4.4% in 2010.