Keep your “BLT” fresh 

By: Cliff Creech

We’ve all heard of the acronym “BLT”. But this time, I’m not referring to your favorite childhood sandwich. In the trucking world, BLT stands for brakes, lights, and tires. These three things are important safety components to any commercial vehicle, and when malfunctioning, could cause harm to your trailer, driver, or other vehicles on the road. 

And with BLT issues come every fleet owner’s worst enemy – lost productivity for your drivers and trailers, or potential CSA violations. Dispatching drivers to trailers that have BLT issues wastes valuable hours of service for drivers and negatively impacts trailer productivity. CSA violations are rated based on severity and expressed through a point system. To make things easier, the more points you get, the worse your carrier rating, and the more money it will cost you. Bottom line: Points are not your friend! 

But how can a fleet proactively tackle problems with BLT? According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), nearly 70 percent of all out-of-service violations in roadside inspections come from BLT issues.

But have no fear. There are actions your fleet can take to keep your BLT “fresh”. Keep reading to learn the importance of brakes, lights, and tires.

1. Brakes

Did you know that 24 percent of roadside out-of-service violations come from brake issues, making it the category responsible for most out-of-service violations?

There are cost-effective means to ensure that ABS faults are addressed before a driver is dispatched. Make sure you check your brakes before the CSA checks you.

2. Lights

Lights are the second most frequent cause of roadside out-of-service violations, accounting for 22 percent of these infractions. Before you dispatch, do the other drivers a favor and check your lights.

3. Tires

It’s no secret that tires are the highest maintenance cost of any other item on a trailer. That’s why making sure your tires are properly inflated and healthy is beneficial to your driver’s safety – and to your wallet.

The inflation of your tires also has a direct impact on fuel consumption. Underinflation kills not only tires, but also fuel economy. A tire underinflated by 10% can result in 20% increase in rolling resistance. And with more rolling resistance comes more fuel consumption. Gas is expensive enough these days, so give your wallet a break and watch those tires.

To sum it all up…

Brakes, lights, and tires are a critical part of any trailer.  Proactively addressing BLT issues can save you money, improve your CSA ratings, and help you retain drivers. That’s why Phillips Connect addresses 16 of the 20 most common CSA violations with its telematics solutions. That’s 71 percent more peace-of-mind for you and your fleet. From TPMS√, our tire pressure monitoring sensor, to Light Out Detection√, our trailer exterior LED monitoring sensor, to ABS Fault Code√, our PLC reader for ABS trailer brake ECU data, our solutions could be just what you need to avoid your next violation.

Don’t believe me? Visit our website at https://www.phillips-connect.com to learn more.

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