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In national event, CHP focusing on faulty truck brakes this week

The California Highway Patrol is taking part in a focused enforcement and education event this week aimed at finding commercial vehicles with faulty or poorly maintained braking systems. The nationwide event, “Brake Safety Awareness Week,” runs through Saturday.

“Our goal is to reduce the number and severity of highway collisions caused by faulty brake systems on commercial vehicles,” the CHP’s commissioner said in a statement. “Proper brake inspections, maintenance, and operation are the responsibility of drivers and mechanics.”

The braking systems on commercial trucks are more complex than those on ordinary passenger vehicles, and brake failure is one of the primary causes of commercial trucking accidents. Operating commercial vehicles with air brake systems — the majority of buses and large trucks — requires special training. Anything from weather conditions to improperly-balanced loads can cause brake failure, particularly if the systems are not properly maintained.

Brake Safety Awareness Week is sponsored by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, a nationwide not-for-profit group of federal, state and local law enforcement agencies including the CHP, along with motor carrier safety officials and trucking industry representatives. A grant was provided so the CHP could perform additional brake inspections and run education programs for commercial drivers, mechanics and others.

The CHP has more than 1,000 employees assigned primarily to enforce commercial vehicle safety laws, and it operates 51 Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Facilities statewide. According to its press release, the organization conducts more than 500,000 commercial vehicle inspections, on and off the road, every year.

This week, the CHP will increase its roadside inspection efforts both the enforce the law and to educate drivers on the critical importance of proper maintenance of braking systems on commercial trucks and buses.

“The purpose is to improve commercial vehicle brake safety throughout California,” said the commissioner.

Commercial truckers should expect to be pulled over, but the resulting reduction in trucking accidents caused by brake failure is well worth any hassle.

Source: California Highway Patrol press release, “CHP: Never Put the Brakes on Safety,” Sept. 6, 2013

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