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Brake Check: 10% of Commercial Motor Vehicles Placed Out of Service in Canada Due to Brake Violations

Intense traffic flow of trucks and cars. Jam on the highway. Road repair works. Rear view.

The findings stress the need for accountability in the trucking industry.

Commercial motor vehicles play a critical role in maintaining the efficient movement of goods across our vast transportation networks. However, recent findings from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance's (CVSA) Brake Safety Day have raised alarming concerns about brake-related violations among commercial motor vehicles in Canada.

During CVSA's Brake Safety Day, a comprehensive inspection campaign was conducted, spanning Canada, Mexico, and the United States. The results were troubling. Among the 894 commercial vehicles inspected in Canada, about 10 per cent— 88 vehicles—were placed out of service due to brake-related violations.

Considering the number of commercial vehicles we see traveling in the Greater Toronto Area, it's time for the trucking industry to prioritize brake safety to help prevent serious and fatal truck accidents.

Brake-related violations uncovered

The inspections conducted during the CVSA's Brake Safety Day brought to light several brake-related violations, including:

  • 20% brakes violations: One of the most significant brake-related violations discovered was the presence of 20% or more brakes with out-of-service conditions. This violation is declared when a vehicle has a substantial number of defective brakes, including issues such as brakes being out of adjustment, audible air leaks at the chamber, defective linings or pads, or even missing brakes where they are required. Such critical brake malfunctions pose a severe risk to the vehicle's ability to stop efficiently and reliably, endangering everyone sharing the road.

    Example: Imagine a situation where a commercial motor vehicle has several brakes that are significantly out of adjustment. This imbalance can result in uneven braking, potentially leading to longer stopping distances or even loss of control during emergency situations.
  • Other brake violations: Apart from the 20% brake violation, inspectors also encountered various other out-of-service brake violations. These encompass a range of issues, such as worn brake lines, broken brake drums, inoperative tractor protection systems, malfunctioning low air warning devices, air leaks, hydraulic fluid leaks, and more. Each of these violations compromises the integrity and reliability of the braking system, making it less effective and increasing the likelihood of accidents or brake failures.

    Example: Consider a scenario where a commercial motor vehicle has worn brake lines. These worn lines are susceptible to leaks, potentially leading to a loss of braking power or a complete failure.
  • Steering brake violations: Steering axle brakes play a vital role in maintaining control and stability during maneuvers. However, the inspections unveiled specific issues related to these brakes. Violations in this category included inoperative brakes, mismatched brake chambers, mismatched slack adjuster length, defective linings, and more. Any compromise in the functionality of steering axle brakes poses a severe risk to the truck driver's ability to steer and control the vehicle safely, increasing the chances of accidents or loss of control.

    Example: Picture a scenario where a commercial motor vehicle has mismatched brake chambers in the steering axle. This discrepancy can lead to imbalanced braking forces, potentially causing the vehicle to pull to one side during braking, making it harder to steer or maintain stability.

Comparing violations in Canada to the U.S. and Mexico

In the United States, inspectors examined a total of 5,901 commercial motor vehicles. The results were also alarming, with 679 vehicles—equivalent to 11.5 per cent—being placed out of service due to brake-related violations.

In Mexico, 34 vehicles underwent inspections during Brake Safety Day, and 18 per cent of these vehicles—six in total—exhibited brake-related out-of-service violations and were subsequently taken off the road. While the sample size may be smaller, the proportion of vehicles with critical brake issues is problematic, indicating that this is not solely a localized concern but a widespread problem.

Commercial motor vehicles with brake violations pose significant dangers to the safety of drivers, passengers, and pedestrians who share the roadways. Brake systems serve as a critical component in the overall safety of these vehicles, allowing them to navigate, maneuver, and come to a controlled stop when necessary. However, when brakes fail or operate below optimal standards, the consequences can be catastrophic.

Imagine a fully loaded commercial truck hurtling down a highway with faulty brakes. The potential consequences range from extended stopping distances, reduced maneuverability, and an increased risk of jackknifing, rollovers, and rear-end truck accidents.

Our Toronto truck accident lawyers are here to help

At Smitiuch Injury Law, we are deeply committed to advocating for road safety and supporting victims of accidents involving negligence. Our experienced team of truck accident lawyers understands the devastating consequences that can result from such accidents, and we strive to provide compassionate and effective legal representation to those affected.

If you or a loved one has been injured in a commercial vehicle accident, we are here to help you navigate the legal process and seek the compensation you deserve. To learn more about how we can help you, contact us today for a free consultation. We have offices in Toronto, Simcoe, and Brantford and proudly serve clients throughout the GTA.

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