Our driver’s education teacher had a saying: “The best ride is an uneventful ride.”
We know that the larger the vehicle, the longer it takes to stop. Driver’s ed teaches us this, and we experience it on the roads. Teachers and instinct both tell us to give the big trucks more room. What happens, then, when those big trucks need more room than anybody can expect?
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) held its Brake Safety Week at the end of August, and the numbers are in:
Of 43,565 commercial motor vehicles targeted, inspectors put 12% of them out of service for brake-related violations. That’s some 5,228 vehicles taken off the road that week.
(For perspective, the NFL currently is planning a pandemic-related 20% capacity for Super Bowl LV in Tampa Bay ⏤ about 13,000 people in a stadium that can hold 66,000 people.)
Brake Safety Week involved inspectors in Canada, Mexico, and the United States making their rounds. They included incidents of brake hose chafing violations. Why is that important? As Today’s Trucking reports:
“Rear-end collisions can be your worst nightmare, or a plaintiff attorney’s dream come true,” Mark Rhea, an independent transportation professional, said … He noted 12% of verdicts involving commercial vehicle rear-end collisions award more than US$1 million in damages. “So, to put it simply, brakes are important.”
Regarding those 6,697 hose chafing violations. Why this special emphasis on brakes and hoses? Transport Topics quotes CVSA President Sgt. John Samis with the Delaware State Police:
“Although many commercial motor vehicle enforcement agencies were forced to reduce services in the spring due to the pandemic, it was important that we resumed inspection and enforcement duties as soon as it was safe to do so. With truck drivers designated ‘essential personnel’ by the government, we needed to ensure that the vehicles traversing our roadways were safe to support commercial drivers as they selflessly continued to work during such a difficult and challenging time.”
The saying is not cliché: Proper Planning Prevents Poor Performance.