Operation Airbrake is a Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) program dedicated to improving vehicle brake safety throughout North America. As part of the program, CVSA conducts two major brake-safety inspection and enforcement initiatives each year: an unannounced one-day Brake Safety Day, which may be held at any time; and Brake Safety Week, a seven-day initiative which is publicly announced in advance. During both the announced and unannounced brake safety enforcement campaigns, commercial motor vehicle inspectors conduct brake system inspections (primarily Level IV Inspections) on large trucks and buses throughout North America to identify brake-system violations. CVSA has announced Aug. 21-27 as the dates for this year’s Brake Safety Week.
During the brake portion of a vehicle inspection, inspectors will look for missing, non-functioning, loose, contaminated or cracked parts on the brake system, and non-manufactured holes (such as rust holes and holes created by rubbing or friction) and broken springs in the spring brake housing section of the parking brake. They will listen for audible air leaks around brake components and lines, and ensure the air system maintains air pressure between 90-100 psi (620-690 kPa). Inspectors will also check for S-cam flip-over and measure pushrod travel. They will check that slack adjusters are the same length (from center of S-cam to center of clevis pin) and the air chambers on each axle are the same size. They will also inspect required brake-system warning devices, such as ABS malfunction lamp(s) and low air-pressure warning devices. In addition, inspectors will ensure the breakaway system is operable on the trailer, and inspect the tractor protection system, including the bleed-back system on the trailer. In addition to reporting total inspections and brake-related out-of-service violations, inspectors will also capture and provide data on brake hose/tubing chafing violations – the focus area for this year’s Brake Safety Week.
This year’s unannounced Brake Safety Day was conducted on April 27, 2022, the results of which were reported on June 22, 2022. In the forty-six jurisdictions that participated, a total of 9,132 inspections were conducted. Of the total number of inspections conducted, 1,290 vehicles were placed out of service for brake violations, which is a brake-related out-of-service (OOS) rate of 14.1%. This is up slightly from last year’s Brake Safety Day, which reported a 12.6% brake-related OOS rate out of 10,091 total inspections. Commercial motor vehicle inspectors during last year’s Brake Safety Week inspected 35,764 commercial motor vehicles. Twelve percent of the vehicles inspected were placed out of service due to critical brake-related inspection item conditions.
Brake-related violations comprise the largest percentage of all out-of-service vehicle violations cited during roadside inspections, and brake systems and brake adjustment violations accounted for 38.9% of all vehicle out-of-service violations, the most of any category of vehicle violations
More information regarding Operation Airbrake and resources for drivers can be found here: https://www.cvsa.org/programs/operation-airbrake/
Written by associate Colin A. Grigg