The SAFER rating is composed of three elements each with its own score.
1. UNSAFE DRIVING
2. MAINTENANCE OF EQUIPMENT
3. DRIVER'S HOURS OF SERVICE
Recently we did some research into a very large hotshot operator’s SAFER rating. We wanted to determine the items which most contributed to a poor SAFER rating to help you as a hotshot operator avoid these items. We learned something very important during our research.
For this company the number one equipment related reason for an OOS event was a failing "Emergency quick release trailer brake" This is the pin connecting the trailer to the truck that pulls out in case the trailer disconnects from the truck.
There is a battery on your trailer that powers this emergency system when the truck is off. To prevent an OOS event for a failing emergency quick release brake:
1. TEST YOUR BATTERY ON THE TRAILER. If your battery does not work your quick release emergency brake will not work.
2. With your truck off, pull the pin and make sure the brakes on the trailer engage. If they don't there is a problem to resolve on the system.
3. When you are directed into an inspection lot or pulled over for an inspection, turn your trailer brake controller up to the maximum setting as soon as the inspection starts. This will increase the braking power into the trailer for all aspects of the inspection.
Stay safe out there by keeping your emergency quick release trailer brake working!