The inaugural Brake Safety Awareness Week, held Aug. 26-Sept.1, may have enlightened a few more consumers about the importance of periodic brake inspections, according to Larry Hecker, president of the Motorist Assurance Program (MAP), which sponsored the event.
MAP patterned the event after the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance's Brake Safety Week for commercial trucks, and Mr. Hecker estimates about 8,000 shops around the country participated in offering free brake inspections for consumers' vehicles.
While he has received only anecdotal feedback from a few participants, Mr. Hecker said the campaign seemed to draw a few more customers into participating shops for preventive inspections. ``So far, from the anecdotal responses, I'd say it was a success,'' he said.
Under the program, participating MAP member shops offered free brake and related undercar inspections and distributed consumer education materials MAP provided. MAP also conducted educational programs for consumers at selected shops.
The overall goal was ``to reduce the number of incidents/crashes caused by faulty braking systems on all types of vehicles through education and outreach to drivers, the media, technicians and others on the importance of proper brake inspection, maintenance and operations,'' according to a MAP statement.
MAP had no quantitative objective, but ``the goal was to increase awareness and increase (customer) traffic and get the customer to be more aware of the needs of their vehicle. That's definitely been the case,'' Mr. Hecker said.
He sent out questionnaires to participants about their Brake Week experiences and plans to compile the information for a report to the MAP board of directors meeting in October. It will be up to the board whether MAP hosts the program next year or if changes are made, Mr. Hecker said, but he would recommend the board continue and enhance the program for 2008.
MAP, the promotional/outreach arm of the Automotive Maintenance Repair Association (AMRA), was created in 1994 to strengthen communication and trust between the industry and its customers.