Although CVSA Brake Safety Week has just wrapped up, the need to keep trucks' brakes safe and in top working order hasn't. Ozzie Flores, marketing and product manager at fleet tracking and management systems company Teletrac Navman, shared some insight on safe and resourceful practices drivers and fleet managers specifically can use moving forward.
Take ownership of your brake safety. Look proactively for issues that could risk your safety or others'.
Spend some time completing any type of vehicle inspection report before hitting the road. Take around 10-15 minutes to walk around the truck and trailer, physically check equipment and log issues in a digital format or Driver-Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR).
Monitor for correct tire pressure. Brake use accelerates tire wear and tear, so keeping tires at the recommended psi will help extend the life of a vehicle's brakes.
Drive defensively. Traveling at safe speeds, paying attention to road and traffic signs and work zones, and leaving enough space between vehicles will help you avoid harsh braking or cornering, extending brake life.
Review and follow the CVSA's Brake Inspection Checklist. Look for things like damaged, broken or missing components, cracked brake pads/ linings, excessive up and down or sideways movement on the camshaft, external cracks on the brake drum, etc.
If you see something, say something. Be sure to communicate concerns with fleet managers, safety officers, or maintenance staff.
For fleet managers:
Take advantage of telematics. Your telematics data can help monitor for unsafe driver behavior like harsh braking, speeding, and hard cornering—all of which can affect brake health.
Reinforce safe operating with drivers. Review collected data from safety analytics solutions to identify risky driving behavior that affects brake health (harsh cornering, hard braking, etc.) and create training programs to address it.
Create preventive or predictive maintenance programs to ensure brakes are serviced regularly, before unplanned downtime or incidents occur.
Use telematics or IoT devices to gather data on vehicle performance and equipment utilization.
Track equipment maintenance schedules in addition to meter readings, maintenance logs, or historical records so that regular, preventative maintenance is conducted.
Train drivers on inspection basics and how to visually check brakes, tires, etc.
Emphasize the importance of pre- and post-trip DVIRs.
Conduct quarterly safety standup meetings or group trainings with maintenance departments to identify what drivers should look for, how to check brakes and other equipment, and discuss questions or concerns.