This story is updated as of Aug. 18, 2020, with data reflecting calendar year 2019 violations reported to the federal system.
Even with the long-underway priority drift toward an emphasis on traffic enforcement in the truck-enforcement community writ large, violations of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations as captured on inspection reports remained dominated by vehicle-related violations. In 2019, as in prior years, more than 70% of all violations written nationally were for items that contribute to carriers’ scores/rankings in the Vehicle Maintenance Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement (BASIC) category under CSA. Though lip service is continually paid to the importance of driver behavior in crashes, for inspectors the vehicle clearly remains a priority — the percentage share of maintenance-related violations, as shown above, actually rose between 2016 and 2018, before falling slightly last year.
It’s those vehicle violations, and the brake-related ones in particular, that will receive some special focus starting Sunday with the annual Brake Safety Week inspection event.
For many of the maintenance “top performer” states shown above — ranked according to the category of violations’ share of total violations in a state — brakes are also prime priorities. States shown in red and shaded on the map rank in each top 15 for the toughest states when it comes to a close focus on maintenance overall and brakes in particular.
In some ways, things have changed little when it comes to the states on the list. Compare the brakes rankings for 2019 up top with the following top 10 for brakes violations (with blue bars showing each state’s relevant maintenance-violation percentage) from 2014. Brake violation percentages are indicated by the small orange bar.
Just two states, California and Oregon, are no longer in the top 10 for the share of brake violations — California, the number one performer of inspections (with a high percentage of clean inspections) per lane-mile of National Highway System in our recent analysis, remains high on the overall maintenance-violation list. They’re clearly attentive to vehicle violations — a part of the broader inspections set to occur with Brake Safety Week August 23-29.
If you haven’t as yet, get ready.
Archived coverage of various state enforcement departments with high-level maintenance/brakes priorities, from the CSA’s Data Trail series: