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Percentage of Brake Safety Week out-of-service orders holds steady in US

Total inspections rise, but there’s little change in percentage of trucks taken off road after inspection

Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

Results from Brake Safety Week conducted this year by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance came in at numbers close to the figures from 2021.

The number of vehicles inspected in the U.S. from Aug. 21-27 was 34,402, a significant increase from the 28,694 checked last year. But the out-of-service (OOS) violation rate barely budged — 13.5% last year to 13.6% in 2022.

Meanwhile, there was a notable increase in Canada, where inspections resulted in OOS violations coming in at 17.8% compared to 15.4% last year. The number of vehicles inspected in Canada this year was 1,975. Last year, it was close to that at 1,903.

Mexico inspected just 1,740 vehicles this year, well down from the 5,167 checked last year, according to CVSA data. The OOS rate in Mexico was 2.5% this year and 2.6% last year.

The end result is that 13.3% of 38,117 vehicles inspected in North America during 2022 Brake Safety Week resulted in a vehicle being taken out of service. Last year, it was approximately 12%.  

The percentage decline appears to be largely a function of the U.S. rate holding steady while being applied to a significantly larger base of inspections. American inspections as a percentage of the total number rose and, given that the percentage of OOS orders was essentially flat, the end result is a lower overall OOS rate for the three nations combined. 

In releasing the numbers this week, the CVSA said that inspections conducted during Brake Safety Week are “no different from the inspections conducted any other day of the year.” But data on brakes is submitted to CVSA for “compilation, analysis and release.”

Brake Safety Week is a voluntary event among the law enforcement authorities that work with CVSA, a nonprofit agency composed of various law enforcement agencies charged with enforcing safety rules on the highways of all three North American nations. 

Although Brake Safety Week is voluntary, the agency said 53 Canadian and U.S. jurisdictions, as well as Mexico’s Ministry of Communication and Transport, participated this year. Last year’s Canadian and U.S. total was 50.

CVSA already has set next year’s Brake Safety Week for Aug. 20-26.

The CVSA also said that 11 of its jurisdictions had performed inspections using performance-based brake testers and that 7% of the trucks failed their tests and were taken out of service. The PPBT test, according to CVSA, uses “mechanical or electronic decelerometers” to measure stopping performance “in which deceleration and/or stopping distance is obtained, independent of brake type or application method,” the CVSA said.

The CVSA breaks out data for the four categories of brake hose chafing violations. Only one of them results in an OOS order when “any part of the fabric/steel braid reinforcement ply is frayed, severed or cut through.” 

The total number of brake hose/tubing violations was documented at 6,305, and the percentage of vehicles found with these types of violations that were put out of service totaled 19% in the U.S., 12% in Canada and 15% in Mexico.

While those percentages are above the total brake-related OOS rates for the three countries, the overall rates are lower, according to Kerri Wirachowsky, CVSA director of inspection programs, because the total number is drawn from a wider base than just the hose data.

“These OOS conditions could range from violations of brake hoses to broken drums/rotors, airloss, tractor protection system issues, etc., or the combination of service brake violations such as brake adjustment, contaminated linings, cracked or worn linings, etc.,” Wirachowsky said in an email to FreightWaves.

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John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.