R. Scott King, BSME, Principal Automotive/Mechanical Engineer
A recent Federal DOT report on commercial vehicle crash statistics has shown that of the commercial trucks found to possess pre-crash mechanical deficiencies of any kind, nearly one in three had deficiencies relating to braking. Given the close relationship between braking performance and stopping distance, proper brake system operation should be among the most closely monitored of all vehicle systems. However, brake system defects have comprised the majority of out-of-service violations issued during post-crash and road-side inspections for as long as records have been kept. Thus, safety-minded organizations recognize the need for continual efforts to reduce brake-related defects throughout the commercial vehicle fleet. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) is one such organization.
Throughout each year, the CVSA sponsors various events to promote brake safety and reduce the number, and severity, of commercial truck crashes. Some events are announced in advance and others are not; however, all are a comprehensive visual and functional evaluation of a truck’s braking system. This year, the CVSA has selected September 15-23 as its Brake Safety Week. If this year’s event is similar to past events, the CVSA will inspect well over 10,000 commercial vehicles throughout North America; and, if past patterns hold, here is, approximately, what they will find:
In addition to placing unsafe vehicles out of service, the data collected during Brake Safety Week will help identify deficiencies in vehicle inspection and maintenance programs. For more information on the CVSA, its mission, and Brake Safety Weeks past and future, visit www.cvsa.org.
R. Scott King, BSME, Principal Automotive/Mechanical Engineer with DJS Associates, Inc., can be reached via email at experts@forensicDJS.com or via phone at 215-659-2010.