CVSA inspection bulletins clarify issues with braking aids, tire inflation systems

Updated Mar 7, 2024

Trucking news and briefs for Monday, May 15, 2023:

CVSA issues inspection bulletins on braking aids, tire inflation systems

With the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s International Roadcheck looming, the group on May 11 issued two new inspection bulletins regarding hill start aid/brake hold modes and automatic tire inflation and tire pressure monitoring systems.

Regarding brake aids, CVSA said some newer tractors have a “hill start aid” and/or “brake hold mode” function that automatically keeps the service brakes applied after the tractor is taken out of gear when stopped. These systems may activate at the beginning of an inspection, and if so, the brake lamps will remain on, and the service brakes will also be activated. 

The purpose of HSA is to allow automatic transmissions to engage the clutch while on a grade. HSA also has an extension called the "brake hold mode" function, which is intended to relieve drivers when driving in stop-and-go traffic by allowing the driver to hold the service brake on without constant pressure on the brake pedal. The bulletin noted that the hill start aid (HSA) function has been around for several years, but recent updates have allowed the function to be active for more than three seconds. 

CVSA told inspectors that if they are conducting an inspection and the brake lamps are continuously burning and/or the service brakes are constantly applied, they should ensure the brake hold function is not activated, instructing drivers to press the “HSA OFF” switch on their dash to deactivate the system.

The other bulletin, related to tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) and automatic tire inflation systems (ATIS), clarified that air exhausting from an ATIS “is considered a part of normal operation and should not be recorded as a violation.” CVSA added that an ATIS is not required equipment on commercial vehicles, so they are not required to be operative.

“If an ATIS is defective, inoperative or in an alert status, there is no corresponding violation,” the bulletin said. “If a faulty or defective ATIS causes a violation of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSRs), that individual violation should be addressed on a roadside inspection" report as, for example, a "flat tire," an "air leak other than normal system operation" or whatever the appropriate violation.

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The bulletin also pointed out that, while removal of components is generally discouraged during a roadside inspection, “if there is an indication that a tire is flat, have the driver remove and replace any necessary components so that tire pressures may be verified on vehicles equipped with ATIS or TPMS in accordance with this bulletin.”

[Related: The toughest 10 states for load-securement violations: Are you Roadcheck-ready?]

Iowa governor signs nuclear verdict protection bill into law

Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds on May 12 signed a bill into law that protects trucking companies from being sued following a serious crash for an employee driver’s negligence.

Under the new law, claims of a trucking company’s negligence in hiring an employee driver would be dismissed if the trucking company confirms that the driver was, in fact, their employee and that the person whose negligence is alleged to have caused the damages was acting within the course and scope of employment with the employer.

The new law also limits to $5 million the amount recoverable, per plaintiff, from the owner or operator of a commercial vehicle for non-economic damages for personal injury or death. The limit will not be enforced by a court if the court finds that the negligent act leading to the claimed harm involved a number of factors, including operating over the legal limit for alcohol, operating under the influence of a drug, a refusal to submit to a drug test, a felony involving the use of a motor vehicle, speeding 15 mph or more over the legal speed limit, and more.

[Related: Trucking Law: How to protect your business after a crash]

Medium-duty Internationals recalled for driveshaft issue

Navistar is recalling some of its medium-duty International MV trucks due to an issue with the driveshaft, according to National Highway Traffic Safety Administration documents.

The recall affects approximately 49 model year 2023 MV units in which the driveshaft tube seam weld may separate or tear, resulting in drive line separation and a sudden loss of drive power.

Dealers will replace the driveshafts, free of charge. Owner notification letters are expected to be mailed July 3. Owners can contact Navistar's customer service at 800-448-7825 with recall number 23513. NHTSA’s recall number is 23V-322.

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