Did you know that a fully loaded tractor-trailer travels down the highway at 65 mph under ideal weather conditions and with excellent brakes, requires approximately 525 feet (nearly two football fields) to come to a complete stop? This is nearly double the length a passenger vehicle requires under the same conditions.1 Without a doubt, brakes are one of the most critical safety features on any vehicle, especially on a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). Improperly maintained brakes can result in hefty fines and costly downtime for fleets and cause catastrophic vehicle crashes.
The severe dangers of faulty brake systems is one of the reasons why the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) began holding its annual Brake Safety Week, which will be held this week with a focus on brake lining/pad violations, from August 20th through the 26th. Over the next seven days, CVSA-certified enforcement personnel will conduct roadside inspections on CMVs to identify and remove CMVs with critical brake violations and to call attention to the dangers of faulty brake systems. The CVSA’s goal is to reduce the number of crashes caused by poorly maintained braking systems on CMVs by conducting roadside mechanical fitness inspections and removing dangerous vehicles from roadways.
During the surprise /unannounced brake safety day, held April 19 of this year, inspectors found brake-related critical vehicle inspection items on 11.3% of the vehicles inspected. As a result, inspectors restricted those 773 commercial motor vehicles from travel until the violations were corrected.
Properly maintained brake systems are critical to the safety of CMV drivers and those on the road with them. According to the CVSA, brakes must be routinely inspected and carefully maintained so they operate to the manufacturer’s specifications throughout the life of the vehicle. Improper installation and poor maintenance can reduce braking efficiency, posing a serious threat to public safety. The results of CVSA’s 2021 unannounced Brake Day inspections should give both fleets and drivers some pause as they consider the outcome:
Of the total number of the commercial motor vehicles inspected, 13.3% were placed out of service for brake-related critical vehicle inspection item violations. That also means that nearly 87% of the commercial motor vehicles inspected throughout North America during Brake Safety Week did not have brake-related critical vehicle inspection item violations.
While accidents will always happen, there are many steps drivers and fleet managers can take to help ensure that those accidents are rare, and the trend toward safer roads continues in a positive direction. One of the ways is FleetPulse, Great Dane’s trailer telematics platform. With hardwired, future-proof technology, FleetPulse allows its users to maintain a watchful eye over the health of their trailer from a distance and in real time. Included in FleetPulse’s suite of offerings is ABS monitoring—one of the best ways to keep tabs on your trailer’s brakes and to make sure that they’re properly maintained. ABS fault codes—among a whole host of other beneficial alerts like TIS monitoring and open-door sensing— are sent directly to users, giving fleets the opportunity to understand what the problem is and how to address it. And with Great Dane’s 16 service centers operating at record capacity and with technology the focus, you can feel confident that the problem with your trailer’s brakes will be handled quickly and adeptly.
Brake maintenance is more than just checking a box or making sure a rig passes inspection. It is a vital part of maintaining safe roads for drivers and the motoring public alike, and safe mobility of goods is what Great Dane is all about. To learn more about brake safety week, click here. Until then, stay safe and stay connected.
 Trucks Need More Time to Stop. Retrieved from: https://www.udot.utah.gov/trucksmart/motorist-home/stopping-distances/
 Brake Safety Week is Sept. 16-22. (2018). Retrieved from: https://cvsa.org/news-entry/2018-brake-safety-week/
 Large Truck Crash Causation Study (LTCCS) Analysis Series: Using LTCCS Data for Statistical Analyses of Crash Risk. (2014). Retrieved from: https://www.fmcsa.dot.gov/safety/research-and-analysis/large-truck-crash-causation-study-ltccs-analysis-series-using-ltccs
 CVSA Releases 2021 Brake Safety Week Results (2021). Retrieved from: https://www.cvsa.org/news/2021-brake-safety-week-results/