Commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) are vehicles such as large trucks and tractor-trailers that usually transport cargo. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) sponsors programs throughout the year to promote CMV safety. This September 6-12 will be Brake Safety Week.
Remarkably, violations involving brakes are the highest percentage of violations cited during roadside inspections. These brake inspections include the inspection of brake-component systems (examination for missing or loose parts), as well as the inspection of antilock braking system (ABS) lamps.
Antilock Braking Systems (ABS)
Driving a vehicle equipped with an antilock braking system (ABS) can help to promote driver safety. ABS helps drivers maintain control of the vehicle and continue steering, even during extreme braking. Normally, applying maximum pressure to a vehicle’s brakes can cause wheels to lock, which causes drivers to lose steering control. ABS prevents wheels from locking, even while a driver is applying maximum pressure to the brakes. ABS helps drivers avoid collisions, even in extreme, emergency situations. In most vehicles, ABS lamps turn on to signal to the driver that the ABS is working properly. ABS lamps are yellow lights on the dashboard that say “ABS”—if the signal does not turn on when a vehicle’s ignition is started, or if the signal does not turn off after a few seconds, it may mean that there is a problem with the ABS. Drivers should be aware of these procedures, and should confirm whether their vehicle’s ABS is working before starting to drive.
Procedures for determining whether ABS is functioning in specific vehicles, and further information on ABS is available at: http://www.cvsa.org/programs/documents/air_brakes/archive/ABS%20Inspection%20Flyer.pdf
The CVSA’s annual Brake Safety Week is making significant progress to increase driver safety—last year’s Brake Safety Week included more than 13,000 inspections. Since the program began in 1998, an estimated 3.4 million brakes have been inspected. These inspections are raising awareness about brake safety, and keeping all drivers safer on the road.
About the Author: Paul Hux is a partner and trial attorney at Allen, Allen, Allen & Allen. His practice is dedicated entirely to plantiff’s personal injury, including car accidents, wrongful death, and traumatic brain injuries. Paul works out of the Midlothian/Chesterfield branch of the firm and has been practicing personal injury law for more than 20 years.
 Brake-related violations made up about 46% of violations during the 2014 CVSA International Roadcheck. http://www.cvsa.org/programs/brake-safety-week-2015.php.