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Brake Safety Week September 6-12 – helpful brake maintenance and braking tips

A brake out of adjustment is the highest frequency violation during a roadside inspection.

Professional drivers typically will maintain a space cushion between them and the vehicles in front of them. When applying the brakes they will usually apply the brakes with 15% to 25% air application. Only in a defensive action will a driver apply the brakes with greater than 60% air application. These braking incidents are referred to as “Panic Stops” or “Rapid De-acceleration Occurrences.” Analysis reflects that most professional drivers will require less than 6 of this type of brake application per 1,000 miles driven.

Most International trucks are equipped with a “Stroke Sensitive” automatic adjuster. This type of slack adjuster adjusts the brakes on the return stroke.

This adjustment occurs only when the application is greater than 60%. The better the driver, the less opportunity there is for the automatic slack adjuster to make a brake adjustment. To ensure that the brakes are always in adjustment, we recommend the following:

An automatic slack adjuster will adjust approximately ½ inch with every 10 full brake applications.

Including this procedure as part of your pre-trip inspection will ensure that your brakes are always fully in adjustment. In the event of a roadside inspection, repeat this process while waiting your turn in line for the inspection process. This will insure that you are not red-tagged, due to a slack adjuster “Out-of-Service” condition or receive a violation. After completing this procedure and the brakes are still not adjusted or are inspected and found to be out-of-service, then it indicates there is a problem with the adjuster, with the adjuster’s installation or with related foundation brake components.

AS A DRIVER, DO NOT TRY TO MANUALLY ADJUST AN AUTOMATIC SLACK!!

The following is the Air Brake Inspection Procedure that will be used by the CVSA inspectors during Brake Safety Week:

Inspection Items:
Driver License
Registration
Low Air Warning Device
Pushrod Travel (Adjustment)
Brake Linings/Drums
Air Loss Rate (If leak detected)
Tractor Protection System

Operation Air Brake Inspection Procedure:

Step 1: Choose the Inspection Site
Step 2: Safety Considerations
Step 3: Check Air Brake Mechanical Components
Step 4: Check Steering Axle Air Brake Mechanical Components
Step 5: Check Brake Adjustment
Step 6: Build the Air Pressure to 90 – 100 PSI
Step 7: Check the Air Brake ABS System (If Applicable)
Step 8: Test Air Loss Rate
Step 9: Test Low Air Pressure Warning Device
Step 10: Check the Tractor Protection System
Step 11: Finalize paperwork, and provide the results to the driver (i.e. out-of-service, etc.)

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