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Road safety: Truck drivers urged to maintain brake systems

Driving undoubtedly causes some wear and tear on a vehicle over the course of time. In order to keep a vehicle operating effectively and safely, maintenance or repairs may become necessary. The need to maintain vehicles is exceptionally important for over-the-road truck drivers who can travel hundreds or thousands of miles every week.

Failing to maintain a vehicle not only affects drivers, but can also affect others on the road. This is exactly why the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance is promoting "Brake Safety Week," which is being held between Sept. 8 and 14 this year. As part of the campaign, the organization will be conducting brake system inspections and providing training for truckers throughout North America.

When air brake systems on semi trucks aren't properly maintained, stopping distances can increase over time. This means that truckers aren't able to stop as quickly as they should be able to, which can cause a tractor-trailer accident.

According to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, it often only takes minutes to check brake systems for proper performance and make any necessary adjustments. Unfortunately, though, many drivers don't perform these checks regularly enough.

Industry observers say that truckers typically don't perform brake safety checks because they choose not to or their employers don't provide the proper training. Interestingly enough, both of these issues can be fixed. Between enforcement and education, it may be possible to target both of the aforementioned reasons for failing to maintain semi trucks' brake systems.

Every motorist -- whether or not they're driving professionally -- have a duty to ensure that their vehicles are ready for the open road. Neglecting to uphold this responsibility can have devastating consequences.

Source: Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, "Operation Air Brake/Brake Safety Week September 8-14, 2013"

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