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Unsafe Commercial Truck Brake Violations

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A truck safety organization found 14% of commercial trucks had dangerously defective brakes on one day in April. A few months later the results weren’t significantly better following the organization’s full week of inspections devoted to truck brake safety.

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) is a consortium of truck safety officials and state law enforcement officers. Its mission is to make trucking safer and prevent fatal commercial truck crashes.

Negligent Truck Drivers

CVSA periodically conducts roadside inspections of truck drivers and their tractor-trailers. CVSA holds one annual event, International Roadcheck, over three days to find dangerous trucks and dangerous truck drivers. Examples of negligent truck driver actions uncovered this year included:

  • Violating federal Hours of Service rules
  • Driving on a suspended commercial driver’s license
  • Drug use

On April 27 CVSA held its Brake Safety Day.

Law enforcement conducted 8,750 tractor-trailers inspections throughout the United States. The focus was defective truck brakes. On that one day, inspectors found 1,228 trucks with dangerously defective brakes, or 14% of the trucks inspected.

The defective truck brake violations were so serious the trucks were taken off the road until the necessary repairs were made. These are called out-of-service violations.

Four months later CVSA expanded its inspections for unsafe truck brakes with Brake Safety Week, held August 21-27. CVSA recently announced the results.

The Most Dangerous Truck Brake Safety Violations

U.S. inspectors issued out-of-service violations for dangerous brakes to nearly 4,700 commercial trucks.  That’s 13.6% of all commercial trucks inspected that week, which practically mirrors the results from CVSA’s earlier Brake Safety Day.

These same inspectors found 5,701 truck brake hose safety issues as well. Almost 20% of these brake hose issues were so dangerous they warranted out-of-service violations.

In addition to visual checks, inspectors used machines in some instances to identify dangerous truck brakes. Performance-backed brake testers (PBBT) measure, among other things, the brake forces at each commercial truck wheel end.

Inspectors can see potential problems with brake components.  PBBTs objectively measure truck brake function and can determine a truck’s stopping performance, which can be compared to minimum safety standards.

PBBTs were used in nearly 400 commercial truck inspections. Inspectors issued out-of-service violations to 7% of the trucks for defective brakes using the machine findings.

Commercial truck drivers have a responsibility to bring known mechanical issues to their employers.  Trucking companies are responsible for the safe maintenance and upkeep of their fleets. This includes making necessary repairs to defective truck brakes. This also includes regular maintenance checks to catch potentially dangerous truck brake issues.

Recent evidence indicates a significant percentage of commercial trucks on the road have unsafe brakes. When trucking companies and truck drivers ignore dangerous brakes or other mechanical issues, they put other drivers in danger.

If you were seriously injured or had a family member perish in a crash with a commercial truck, speak with a truck accident attorney about bringing all those responsible to account for their recklessness.

The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.

Authored by Gray Ritter Graham. Posted in Blog December 1, 2022.