By Mike Quimby Senior Vice President and General Manager, Element Fleet Management
Fleet managers have a valuable opportunity this month – a built-in accelerator, if you will – to demonstrate commitment to both their drivers and the communities they serve by focusing on vehicle brake safety.
Sept. 11-17 is Brake Safety Week, an annual effort sponsored by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. Law enforcement throughout North America will inspect commercial motor vehicles and educate the industry about the importance of properly maintaining brakes. Inspectors will check large trucks and buses to identify out-of-adjustment brakes, and identify violations to braking systems and anti-lock braking systems (ABS).
Why is Brake Safety Week particularly important to those who oversee fleets and what should they know about the inspections? Here are some answers:
Among the faults inspectors will be searching for when either pulling over vehicles in unannounced brake checks or conducting check stations are loose or missing parts; air or hydraulic fluid leaks; worn linings, pads, drums or rotors and failing ABS malfunction indicator lamps.
Many of the inspectors will also take the opportunity to conduct Level I Inspections, examining all relevant paperwork, the proper securement of cargo, and a complete check of other vehicle equipment, such as lights, windshield wipers, suspensions and tires. In jurisdictions that currently use performance-based brake testing equipment, vehicle-braking efficiency will be measured.
Why Such Concern?
The brake system requires consistent maintenance if it’s to operate appropriately throughout the life of a commercial motor vehicle. Every failure to do so increases risk, and risk is costly.
A 2015 International Roadcheck campaign found that of violations forcing commercial vehicles to be taken out of service, 43 percent were related to brakes. Also last year, 18,817 vehicles were inspected as part of Brake Safety Week and 2,321 were placed out of service as a result. That’s 12.3 percent. How will it affect your business if 12.3 percent your fleet is sidelined?
The Bigger Opportunity
Fleet management companies strongly encourage those with whom we work and the entire commercial motor vehicle community to embrace Brake Safety Week.
As a fleet manager, safety must be your primary goal; to care for your employees’ health and that of everyone your vehicle passes each day is imperative. As the statistics show, it’ll also save you money, keeping your fleet on the road and business flowing.
And if you’re a driver, you probably already know if your brakes aren’t in excellent working order, don’t you? Maybe you’ve been slow to react? Let Brake Safety week become your opportunity to address any concerns you have about your brake systems, and be wary if those who run your fleet aren’t responsive to these issues.
When it comes to safety, awareness is everything. Just a bit of education, which leads to prevention, is often enough to prompt life-saving action.
Have your own thoughts about the value of Brake Safety Week? Leave a comment or send us a tweet, @ElementFleet.
Each month Fleet Management Weekly features insight from Mike Quimby, senior vice president and general manager at Element Fleet Management.