Every year, officials in North America join forces to run what is known as ‘Operation Airbrake’, an initiative designed to monitor commercial motor vehicles with brakes that don’t function up to required standards. In 2016, inspections were carried out in May. The good news is that only 760 trucks with potential brake problems were identified. The take-away for truck drivers and carriers from the inspection was – the importance of brake safety.
According to news sources, certified inspectors checked over 6,100 trucks and buses as part of the single day inspection. Among the trucks whose brakes were found to have problems, the split was even between hydraulic and air brake systems.
Truck Brakes Are Critical
Truck drivers and carriers know that their hydraulic brakes or air brakes are critical to stopping large commercial vehicles. But what we sometimes forget is how easily brakes can be compromised when components like truck air brake hose or couplings begin to wear. Because braking systems are under such intense pressure, it doesn’t take much to compromise a system.
We found it interesting that among most of the violations discovered this year, problems were related to ABS rather than the actual air brakes themselves. While ABS problems are not necessarily good problems to have, they are less serious than actual air brake failure. Air brakes are primarily mechanical systems that, if nothing else, will deploy and lock down if they fail completely. When an ABS fails, you are talking about an entirely different problem altogether.
Having said that, drivers and carriers need to remember that a fully-loaded tractor-trailer requires twice the stopping distance as a passenger vehicle at 55 mph. That is under ideal conditions. As conditions begin deteriorating, greater stopping distances may be required. This is why it is critical to make sure braking systems are in optimal shape.
All truck drivers in the U.S. are required to test their brakes as part of their pre-trip inspections. The required test does not necessarily mean getting under the vehicle and checking truck air brake hose connections and tanks. But it does mean completing a few simple procedures inside the cab to make sure everything is working properly.
Truck drivers are required to test:
- Air brake safety devices
- Air leakage rate
- Brake system leakage
- Low-pressure warning systems
- Brake system response
- System recharge rate
- Properly working service brakes.
Following an established procedure ensures that proper testing is carried out before every trip. A failure to test brakes is not only a violation, but it could also endanger both, the driver and others on the road. As Operation Airbrake demonstrates, there are trucks out there with brakes that are not up to standards.
We Have What You Need
As a leading provider of equipment and supplies for truck drivers, Mytee Products has some of the supplies you will need to maintain your air brake systems. For example, we carry truck air brake hose coils, air brake tubing, airline hose with flexible assemblies, aluminum glad hands, and more.
While you are browsing our air brake supplies, don’t forget to check out our tarps and cargo control supplies. We have just about every kind of tarp you will need along with everything from corner protectors to ratchet straps to bungee straps. We strive to be your one-stop supplier for everything you need to keep your truck driving safely on the road.
1. Safety + Health – http://www.safetyandhealthmagazine.com/articles/14466-hundreds-of-trucks-pulled-from-service-during-operation-airbrake