To boost awareness of truck brake system importance among fleets and truckers, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) will launch a national seven-day “brake safety” blitz this weekend. CVSA-certified inspectors, brake suppliers, and industry partners will conduct enforcement and education activities with drivers and mechanics at truckstops, weigh stations and other locations across the country.

“While the last several years have seen some improvement in brake adjustment related violations and out-of-service conditions, we continue to see too many commercial vehicles being placed out of service for brake adjustment and braking system defects,” said Stephen Keppler, CVSA executive director. “Compliance with brake-related regulatory requirements is a critical component to highway safety and saving lives.”

This “Brake Safety Week” effort – set to start Sept. 12 and wrap up Sept. 18 – is an element of CVSA’s “Operation Air Brake” campaign. That’s an ongoing effort aimed at reducing the out-of-service (OOS) rate for brake-related defects. The group added that the “Operation Air Brake” campaigned was originally developed and initiated by Canada in 1998.

The reason for the special focus on brakes is they continue to be the top defect spotted in the organization’s “Roadcheck” 72-hour “safety inspection blitz” held across the U.S., Canada, and parts of Mexico annually.

This year’s Roadcheck event, conducted between June 8 and 10, found that while out-of-adjustment brakes dropped to 23.7% of all out of service (OOS) violations recorded by inspectors – down from 34.7% in 2009 and 30.1% in 2005 – brake system violations overall climbed slightly. Those violations reached 27.1% of total vehicle OOS designations this year, up from 26.9% in 2009.

“Brake-related defects continue to account for half of all out-of-service violations,” said Steve Callahan, president of CVSA Region V (Canada). “We need all industry players to continue working together to achieve a further sustained drop in the OOS rate in the years ahead.”

John Meed, of the Saskatchewan Ministry of Highways , told FleetOwner that the focus of the upcoming blitz is threefold: raise awareness, enforce rules through inspections, and most importantly, educate all the personnel within trucking about the importance of maintaining brake systems.

“There’s been many strides made in brake technology over the years, but they still must be regularly serviced,” Meed noted. “That’s why we’re working with industry suppliers and fleets in this effort, so we can reach the technicians in the shop-- so we can reinforce the importance of these systems on commercial motor vehicles.”