Annual brake inspection blitz looms; here's what they'll look for

Updated Aug 20, 2022
Inspector checks truck's brakes

Law enforcement's annual focus on the brakes of commercial vehicles is just nine days away.

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance's Brake Safety Week will be held Aug. 21-27.  During that time inspectors from law enforcement jurisdictions in the U.S., Canada and Mexico will conduct their usual North American Standard Level I and V Inspections and capture and report brake-related data to CVSA. 

According to the CVSA, brake-related issues comprise the largest percentage of all out-of-service vehicle violations cited during roadside inspections. Data from last year’s three-day International Roadcheck found brake systems and brake adjustment violations accounted for 38.9% of all vehicle out-of-service violations, the most of any category of vehicle violations.

During the brake portion of a vehicle inspection, inspectors will:

  • look for missing, non-functioning, loose, contaminated or cracked parts on the brake system, and non-manufactured holes (such as rust holes and holes created by rubbing or friction) and broken springs in the spring brake housing section of the parking brake
  • listen for audible air leaks around brake components and lines, and ensure the air system maintains air pressure between 90-100 psi (620-690 kPa)
  • check for S-cam flip-over and measure pushrod travel
  • check to see that slack adjusters are the same length (from center of S-cam to center of clevis pin) and the air chambers on each axle are the same size
  • inspect required brake-system warning devices, such as ABS malfunction lamp(s) and low air-pressure warning devices
  • ensure the breakaway system is operable on the trailer, and inspect the tractor protection system, including the bleed-back system on the trailer.

In addition to reporting total inspections and brake-related out-of-service violations, inspectors will also capture and provide data on brake hose/tubing chafing violations – the focus area for this year’s Brake Safety Week.