Reminder: Break Safety Week takes place October 16 – 22, 2018

June 18, 2018

CVSA-certified enforcement personnel will conduct roadside inspections on commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) as part of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) Brake Safety Week, Sept. 16-22, in order to identify and remove CMVs with critical brake violations from our roadways and to call attention to the dangers of faulty brake systems.

Properly functioning brake systems are crucial to safe CMV operation. Brakes must be routinely inspected and carefully and consistently maintained so they operate and perform to the manufacturer’s specifications throughout the life of the vehicle. Improperly installed or poorly maintained brake systems can reduce braking efficiency, posing serious risk to public safety on our roadways.

Data and research are clear:

  • According to the U.S Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Large Truck Crash Causation (LTCC) Study, 32.7 percent of large trucks with pre-crash violations had brake problems.
  • Brake-related violations comprised the largest percentage of out-of-service vehicle violations cited during last year’s International Roadcheck.
  • The LTCC Study’s relative risk analysis indicated that large trucks involved in a crash where the braking capacity of the truck was critical were 50 percent more likely to have a brake violation than were trucks involved in crashes where the truck’s braking capacity was not critical.
  • According to the LTCC Study, of the trucks involved in brake-critical crashes, 45.5 percent had brake violations, compared with 29.9 percent of trucks involved in crashes of the same type where the braking was not relevant.
  • Results from last year’s Brake Safety Day found that 14 percent of all inspections conducted during that one-day brake safety initiative resulted in a CMV being placed out of service for brake-related violations.

Brake Safety Week aims 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 our roadways.

In addition to inspections and enforcement, outreach efforts by law enforcement agencies to educate drivers, mechanics, owner-operators and others on the importance of proper brake maintenance, operation and performance are integral to the success of the safety initiative.

During Brake Safety Week, inspectors will primarily conduct the North American Standard Level I Inspection, which is a 37-step procedure that includes an examination of driver operating requirements and vehicle mechanical fitness. Inspections conducted will include inspection of brake-system components to identify loose or missing parts; air or hydraulic fluid leaks; defective rotor conditions; measurement of pushrod travel; mismatched air chamber sizes across axles; air reservoir integrity and mounting; worn linings, pads, drums or rotors; required brake-system warning devices; and other brake-system components. Vehicles with defective or out-of-adjustment brakes will be placed out of service.

In addition, in the 12 jurisdictions using performance-based brake testing (PBBT) equipment, vehicle braking efficiency will be measured. PBBTs measure the cumulative brake force for the entire vehicle and divide it by the total vehicle weight to determine overall vehicle braking efficiency. The minimum braking efficiency for trucks is 43.5 percent, required by 393.52 of the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and the CVSA North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria.

Brake Safety Week is part of the Operation Airbrake Program, sponsored by CVSA in partnership with the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

Brake maintenance can’t be stressed enough

I can’t recall exactly how many times I have used this space to talk about the importance of brake maintenance, but I know it is a subject I have returned to on more than one occasion.

 

I need to do it again now because of the recent announcement from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) regarding the designation of Sept. 16-22 as the days for its annual Brake Safety Week. This year CVSA is once again devoting a whole week to the brakes issue; last year it had cut back the inspection blitz to just one day. I don’t know why they chose to return to a weeklong blitz, but I, for one, think it’s very important that we should focus extra attention on brake maintenance for a full week each year.

Read more

7 Truck Driving Tips

Here’s our list of truck driver safety pointers perfect for both drivers new to their vehicles and savvy pros looking for a quick refresher.

1. Watch your blind spots

Other motorists may not be aware of a truck’s “no zones” — those where crashes are most likely to occur. Common “no zones” include:

·       Off to the side just in front of the cab

·       Just behind the side mirrors

·       Directly behind the truck

If others aren’t aware of these trouble spots, they may drive dangerously close. As frustrating as this can be, it’s up to you to exercise caution before turning or changing lanes and to maintain a safe distance.

2. Reduce speed in work zones

Roughly one-third of all fatal work-zone accidents involve large trucks. Make sure to take your time going through interstate construction — your delivery can always wait.

3. Maintain your truck

Give your vehicle a thorough check each morning (fluid levels, horn, mirrors, etc.). The brakes are particularly vital, given how much weight is riding on them. If you spot anything unusual, report it to dispatch before attempting to drive.

4. Load cargo wisely

The higher you stack cargo, the more drag on the truck. By stacking lower and spreading cargo through the full space of the truck, you can stay more nimble and improve your fuel economy.

5. Reduce speed on curves

Usually, following the speed limit is a good thing. When it comes to trucking, however, there are times when even adhering to posted signs is still too fast (confusing, we know).

Particularly on exit/entrance ramps, the speed limits are meant more for cars; trucks have a tendency to tip over if they take the curves too fast. When going through any curve, it’s best to set your speed far lower than the posted limit to make up for your rig’s unique dimensions.

6. Adjust for bad weather

Inclement weather causes roughly 25 percent of all speeding-related truck driving accidents. Cut your speed down by one-third on wet roads, and by one-half on snowy or icy ones.

Also allow more time for maneuvers in poor weather. Let your blinker run for a good 5 blinks before your change lanes, and signal for turns before slowing down.

And if you see other truckers pulling over, maybe it’s best you do likewise.

7. Take care of yourself

A big part of truck driver safety has less to do with your vehicle, and more to do with you. Getting enough sleep, eating right, exercising, and taking quality home time will all help you feel more content and refreshed behind the wheel — 2 qualities prized in any driver.

NHMTA Important Tractor Trailer Ban Notice

Reporting Agency: Transcom to Federal Highway Administration (FHWA)

Incident Type: Tractor Trailer ban

Location: Various corridors in downstate NY

Initial/Final report (March 21, 2018 Effective 8:00AM EDT):

• Effective 8:00AM: The NY State DOT advised that a full tractor trailer ban will go into effect on the NY State Thruway System from Exit 17 (I-84) to the NYC Line (including the Mario Cuomo Bridge), I-287/Cross Westchester Expressway, I-95/New England Thruway from exit 8 (Bronx) to the CT State Line. The ban also includes I-84 and I-684 end to end. The ban will be enforced by the NY State Police; there are no plans for checkpoints at the respective state borders.

Actions/Follow-up:
• Pending

Additional: Pending

How To Handle A Jack Knife Skid

A jack knife skid is one of THE most threatening, scary situations a professional truck driver will ever find themselves in. Most truck driver training programs, do not spend sufficient time teaching trainees how to handle a jack knife skid.
I’ve been a professional truck driver for about 40 years. I have driven all over North America in all types of weather and all types of terrain.

Every driver has their own method for correcting a jack knife skid situation.

Here’s what has worked for me in my driving career.

What to Do When In a Jack Knife Skid Situation

i) Get the unit (tractor trailer) straight. This is the first thing a driver must do when in a jack knife skid situation.
As a professional driver, it’s vital to remain calm, have a cool head and focus on the matter at hand.

ii) If the trailer is kicked out to the passenger side, the best way to correct this, is to steer into the direction of the skid on the same side (steer to the right).

iii) I first take my feet off pedals, whether the clutch, the fuel and the brake.

iv) I concentrate on the steering. My focus is on straightening the truck/trailer.

v) I then attempt to slow the unit down. Some drivers will not agree with me, when I say I utilize the jake brake. It’s possible to use the jake brake on a lower setting, if the roads are excessively slippery.
I let the jake walk the engine down gradually.

vi) When I feel that I am regaining control of the truck, I will try to ‘feather the pedal’. I do not use the trailer brake to slow down when in a jack knife skid.

Then, when in control, I will slowly ease the truck and trailer over to the side of the road.
It’s important to steer gradually toward the skid. Do NOT turn the steering wheel hard into the skid. Do NOT over correct. This will help to counteract the sliding movement and help to straighten the truck and trailer on the road.

Most skids are caused by excessive speed and poor road conditions caused by bad weather. So it is important to be aware of the impending dangers when driving in foul weather.

15 Essential Winter Trucking Safety Tips

Winter trucking safety tips for truckers: driving a tractor trailer in serious winter conditions, demands a specific set of skills for all drivers, especially big rig drivers.
Too many drivers on the highways do not alter their driving skills, when driving in poor weather conditions, on snow-covered or icy roads. Good maneuvering and skid control skills are essential in poor weather.
Knowledge and implementation of proper, preventative safety skills for driving in poor conditions, can truly separate the professional drivers from the rest of the pack.
They have the smarts for making good decisions and knowing when conditions are not safe, and it’s time to ‘get off the road’.
Driving in bad weather, especially in snow and on ice, is risky due to more ‘ stop time’ required, poor visibility, poor traction and the increased unpredictability of other drivers on the road.