Semi-tractor trailers undergoing roadside inspections are likely to be a common sight in Oklahoma and around the country during the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s Brake Safety Week. The nonprofit group of state and federal safety officials and industry representatives shortened their annual brake safety blitz to a single day in 2017, but the nation’s commercial vehicle drivers can expect a full week of enhanced scrutiny this year.

Beginning on Sept. 16, law enforcement will be looking out for tractor-trailers that appear to have been maintained poorly and commercial vehicle inspectors will be checking brake system components for defective parts and signs of excessive wear. According to the CVSA, most of the safety checks conducted during Brake Safety Week will be rigorous Level I inspections. Inspectors will pay particular attention to hoses and lines as even small leaks can allow air or brake fluid to escape and dangerously compromise truck and bus braking systems.

During the CVSA’s one day brake safety initiative in 2017, 14 percent of the commercial vehicles inspected were ordered off the road due to problems with their braking systems. Brake-related violations are also the most common cause of out-of-service orders during other commercial vehicle safety initiatives such as the CVSA’s Roadcheck effort.

It takes powerful brakes to safely stop vehicles that can weigh as much as 40 tons, and commercial vehicle operators are expected to address braking and other safety-related issues in a timely manner. When this duty of care is not met, attorneys could seek to establish liability in truck accident lawsuits by introducing evidence revealing that trucks operated by the defendant have been ordered out of service in the past because they were poorly maintained and posed a threat to other road users.

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