Brake and Tyre Watch

FleetWatch magazine, along with its traditional partners in this project stage the highly successful Brake & Tyre Watch road safety initiative on a quarterly basis nationwide.

Brake & Tyre Watch Background
This initiative is designed to raise transport operators’ awareness around the subject of efficient braking and tyre checking and is linked to preventative maintenance on trucks, including all safety critical items such as lighting, reflectives, etc.

The project is also intended to empower traffic officials with specialised knowledge, enabling them to perform better in their profession and intervene more frequently in taking unroadworthy heavy vehicles off our roads.

Brake & Tyre Watch Training Day
Traffic Officials are trained prior to the hands-on testing day. Training is an important component of the project, for it is very difficult to stop a truck in a roadblock and ascertain whether or not the brakes and tyres are functional.

New braking systems are continually being introduced into new trucks coming into the market, therefore our intention is to offer on-going training to traffic officials to help them better conduct their task out on the road. Training is given free of charge in the interest of road safety by our industry Partners. Each full day’s training session focuses on the quality of brake maintenance and determining braking efficiency, through to tyre faults and general issues. It also includes a practical check with a roadworthy truck and trailer.

Brake & Tyre Watch Practical Test Day Event
Our hands-on test day is held at a Vehicle Testing station in the selected Province. The modus operandi on the day is to randomly select trucks from the closest main route (N1/N3/N4) as well as urban centres and put them through a Brake Roller Test so as to ascertain the state of brakes and braking systems on each vehicle. The vehicles are also checked in the pit for trailer defects and other faults. In order for us to conduct the tests, we work closely with Provincial Traffic Officials and the SAPS in the selected area. The same Traffic Officials who received training on the previous day assist us in pulling the trucks of the road and into the testing area.

The rationale behind this is that all too often accidents are blamed on two things - either ‘the brakes failed’ or ‘the tyre burst’. FleetWatch contends that brakes only fail if you fail to put your foot on the brake pedal or alternatively when the operator has failed to maintain the braking system. It is the latter area of neglect that concerns us.

It is a sad fact that many operators, due to the pressures to deliver combined with the current negative economic climate, are skipping their scheduled maintenance intervals - a worrying trend with dire consequences. In an effort to avoid an escalation of this trend, FleetWatch publishes the actual results of what we find. Brakes, even though they are a hidden component, together with tyres are the most critical safety items on a vehicle and need to be maintained to the highest standards.

FleetWatch would like to thank each of our partners for their time, effort and dedication to this project. Your passion and commitment goes a long way towards making a difference. As we always say: ‘If it helps to save just one life, it will have all been worthwhile.’