The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has designated August as Brake Safety Awareness Month, and during this time, law enforcement agencies educate fleets, drivers, owner-operators and mechanics on the importance of regular brake maintenance. It’s not coincidental, then, that the CVSA has scheduled its 2020 Brake Safety Week for August 23 to 29. Truckers in Alabama should ensure that their brakes meet the standards.

Brake Safety Week is an annual inspection spree held nationwide to enforce brake regulations. Any trucks that are found with brakes that violate the regulations will be placed out-of-service. To get some perspective on the issue, truckers should note that the 2019 Brake Safety Week resulted in 13.5% of inspected trucks being issued OOS orders.

Brake problems are widespread. During the CVSA’s 2019 International Roadcheck, over 16,300 OOS violations were issued, and it turned that out just over 45% were related to brake systems and adjustment. The 2020 brake inspection blitz will have a special focus on brake hoses and tubing, which should be flexible, without damage or leaks and properly attached.

Truckers may or may not be negligent in this regard, and this often reflects how safety-minded a particular fleet is. Those wanting to know what fleets are the safest could consider the results of the annual “Best Fleets to Drive For” contest.

Many truck collisions arise out of a lack of maintenance. Worn brake pads, poorly attached tubing and other defects that are due entirely to the truck driver’s negligence can form the basis for a personal injury claim. Those who were injured should be aware that Alabama follows the strict law of contributory negligence, which means that any degree of fault in the plaintiff will bar recovery. Victims may request a legal assessment and have the lawyer negotiate on their behalf as well.