Did you know that a fully-loaded tractor-trailer traveling 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 important safety features on any vehicle, but especially on a commercial motor vehicle (CMV). Improperly-maintained brakes can not only result in hefty fines and costly downtime for fleets but can also 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 September 16-22 this year. During this week, CVSA-certified enforcement personnel will conduct roadside inspections on CMVs in order 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.2
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) Large Truck Crash Causation (LTCC) Study, found that 32.7 percent of large trucks with pre-crash violations had brake problems.3 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.
It is important to remember that all vehicles found with brakes that are defective or out-of-adjustment will be immediately placed out of service. During CVSA’s unannounced Brake Safety Day on April 25, 2018, 14 percent of all vehicles inspected in the U.S. were placed out of service for brake violations.4 In fact, out-of-adjustment and brake system violations combined represent half of all out-of-service violations issued for CMVs.5
Pre- and post-trip inspections and regular vehicle maintenance are crucial to preventing brake issues on the road. To help keep your fleet up and running safely, Great Dane offers its AdvantEDGE Aftermarket Parts and Service Program, which features a network of more than 100 service locations staffed with trained technicians who are up-to-date on the most current products and repair techniques. In addition, Great Dane has partnered with Love’s Travel Stops to provide AdvantEDGE members access to more than 400 additional service trucks offering tire care, light mechanical and minor reefer repairs for Class 7 and 8 tractors and trailers. Other AdvantEDGE features include consolidated invoicing, single point-of-contact, not-to-exceed parts pricing and the peace of mind that comes from clear communication, quality repair services and a nationwide network. Best of all, AdvantEDGE membership is free.
Beyond the risks of costly fines and downtime, remember that faulty brake systems can be serious safety hazards and are not something to take lightly. Prepare for Brake Safety Week – and every week – by downloading this helpful Brake Inspection Checklist and learn more about Great Dane’s AdvantEDGE program and how it can help keep your fleet running safely and efficiently.
 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
 Nearly 1,600 Commercial Motor Vehicles with Critical Brake Violations Were Removed from Roadways During CVSA’s Unannounced Brake Safety Day. (2018). Retrieved from: https://cvsa.org/news-entry/2018-unannounced-brake-safety-day-results/
 Operation Airbrake. Retrieved from: https://cvsa.org/program/programs/operation-airbrake/