Brake Safety Week Inspection Results Show Lowest Brake System Out-of-Service Rate Yet

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During CVSA's two annual commercial vehicle enforcement events held in 2013—including the unannounced Brake Check day in May and the seven-day Brake Safety Week recently completed in September—federal, state, provincial and local commercial vehicle safety inspectors found the lowest percentage of vehicles with brake violations sufficient to warrant out-of-service orders in over 15 years.

Maintenance is a critical part of vehicle and carrier safety performance, brakes especially. The recent data indicates a positive trend in that direction.

Commercial vehicle safety inspectors from across the continent conducted their annual Brake Safety Week outreach and enforcement campaign September 8-14, 2013. Brake Safety Week is part of the Operation Airbrake program sponsored by CVSA in partnership with the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA). During that week, inspectors selected vehicles for inspection and conducted either North American Standard Level I or Level IV inspections just on brake systems to verify regulatory compliance. They also helped to inform operators about the importance of proper maintenance.

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) conducts this weeklong campaign every year with support from federal, state, provincial and local safety inspectors across North America. This year, participating agencies inspected 20,067 vehicles throughout Brake Safety Week and placed 2,714 commercial vehicles out-of-service for brake violations. Of the vehicles inspected, the Out-of-Service (OOS) rate for all brake-related violations conducted in North America was 13.5%, compared with 15.3% for the same week in 2012. This rate for brake violations ties with May 2013 and September 2010 for the lowest OOS rates recorded since similar events began in 1998. The OOS rate for brake adjustment rose slightly to 9.0%, still near a record low, and the OOS rate for brake components was 7.1%, the lowest it has been since 2000.

“This is encouraging news,“ says CVSA President Tom Fuller, a sergeant with the New York State Police. “Maintenance is a critical part of vehicle and carrier safety performance, brakes especially. The recent data indicates a positive trend in that direction. We appreciate responsible carriers taking it seriously and doing their part to make our highways safer,” said Fuller.

The OOS rates for inspections in Canada were lower than in the U.S., which is historically consistent. The OOS rate for brake adjustment was 9.2% in the U.S. and 6.2% in Canada. The OOS rate for brake components was 7.2% in the U.S. and 5.4% in Canada. The OOS rate for brakes was 13.6% in the U.S. and 11.6% in Canada.

Brake Safety Week Results at a Glance:    

  •     20,067 vehicles were inspected. In 2012, 21,255 were inspected.
  •     1,811 or 9% of vehicles were placed OOS for brake adjustment (9.4% in 2012, 8.4% in 2011, 8.9% in 2010).
  •     1,434 or 7.1% of vehicles were placed OOS for brake components (7.8% in 2012, 7.9% in 2011, 8% in 2010).
  •     2,714 or 13.5% of vehicles were placed OOS for brakes overall (15.3% in 2012, 14.2% in 2011, 13.5% in 2010).
  •     More than 3.4 million brakes have been inspected since the program’s inception.

“This achievement shows that we are moving in the right direction,” said Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administrator Anne S. Ferro, adding, ”but the results also reveal that collective efforts are still necessary to make commercial vehicle operations across the continent the safest possible. We thank CVSA and all of its members for their professionalism and dedication – not only during Brake Safety Week – but every day enforcing commercial vehicle safety regulations that protect the motoring public.”

About Operation Airbrake

The Operation Airbrake campaign is an international effort dedicated to preventing truck and bus crashes and saving lives throughout North America. Its importance is underscored by the fact that brakes were cited as an associated factor in nearly three of ten CMV crashes, according to the most recent Large Crash Causation study. It was first developed in 1998 in Canada and has grown to include two annual enforcement events and educational efforts throughout the year all across North America. The campaign seeks reductions in the rates of brake-related violations and encourages improved understanding and practices of proper brake maintenance. It follows other Selective Traffic Enforcement Program models, which have as been used successfully in other areas of traffic safety. Learn more about Operation Airbrake and Brake Safety Week at

About CVSA

CVSA is an international not-for-profit organization comprised of local, state, provincial, territorial and federal motor carrier safety officials and industry representatives from the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Its mission is to promote commercial motor vehicle safety and security by providing leadership to enforcement, industry and policy makers. The Alliance actively monitors, evaluates, and identifies solutions to potentially unsafe transportation processes and procedures related to driver and vehicle safety requirements most often associated with commercial motor vehicle crashes. In addition, CVSA has several hundred associate members who are committed to helping the Alliance achieve its goals; uniformity, compatibility and reciprocity of commercial vehicle inspections, and enforcement activities throughout North America by individuals dedicated to highway safety and security. For more information, visit

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Lisa Claydon
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