Give yourself a brake! Mind your safety by keeping your braking system in good condition.
The braking system needs to be working properly—that is, within the legal performance limits— for a truck and trailer to be able to stop safely. The trucking company and the driver share the responsibility of making sure the brakes are working properly before it can be out on the road.
A pre-trip inspection of the entire commercial vehicle and trailer must be completed, including:
• mechanical components
• brake adjustment
• air system pressure and air loss
• tractor protection system
Pay attention to the condition of the air line hoses, which are normally located on the exterior of commercial vehicles and trailers and therefore can be damaged by rocks and debris on the roadways. Additionally, air hoses can crack or get minor leaks from zap straps holding them in place or from the vibration of driving.
Keep an eye on the wear of the outer protective material on each brake hose, and if you see any damage, let the trucking company know right away so they can make repairs.
Drivers operating a commercial vehicle with a gross vehicle weight rating of 5,500 kilograms through BC’s mountains must stop at designated brake check inspection pullouts to inspect their brakes. They must inspect the braking system’s components to ensure good working order, just as they do during the pre-trip inspection.
Another good time to inspect the braking system of a commercial vehicle is when it is at the customer’s location, when it’s safe to do so. After loading or unloading, and before going back onto the road, drivers should take a couple of minutes to inspect the brakes and air hoses visually. A common problem a driver may come across is the air lines sitting on the truck’s cat walk, which can cause tears in the line’s outer protective material.
Trucking companies are responsible for maintaining their commercial vehicles and trailers, including scheduling and performing preventive maintenance. Part of this process is having a certified heavy-duty mechanic thoroughly inspect the equipment regularly as part of an annual or bi-annual inspection.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) and additional law enforcement organizations will be completing Brake Safety Week August 22 to 28, 2021. Officers will be completing inspections on commercial vehicles, with a focus on the brake system.