By Dave Osiecki, President of Scopelitis Transportation Consulting LLC and Safety/Regulatory Consultant to Spireon, Inc.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) annual International Roadcheck is fast approaching and it’s likely to bring far more inspections compared to last year’s pandemic-delayed and scaled back event. This year’s Roadcheck is scheduled for May 4-6, 2021 and, on average, 15 trucks or buses will be inspected every minute across North America during this event. The goal of Roadcheck is to bring awareness to essential commercial motor vehicle (CMV) and driver safety rules that help keep our highways safe.
What actually happens during Roadcheck? Roadcheck is mainly a roadside inspection and enforcement event. State and Provincial roadside inspectors and traffic law enforcement personnel increase their activity in a coordinated manner to draw the attention of the trucking industry, the media and the general public to raise awareness of CMV safety, and encourage compliance with safety rules. Most often, inspectors conduct North American Standard Level inspections, which is a 37-step inspection that includes detailed examinations of a truck’s mechanical fitness as well as the commercial driver’s credentials. Level II inspections (same as a Level I inspection except the inspector doesn’t climb under the vehicle) or Level III inspections (driver credentials only) occur as well, but are less common during Roadcheck.
What are Inspectors looking for? Since inspectors primarily conduct Level I inspections, they’ll be looking at all parts of the CMV as well as examining the driver’s medical certification, CDL, hours of service compliance, among other things.
Each year, CVSA identifies a few specific compliance areas on which they intend to focus. This year, CVSA has decided to focus on two areas: Lighting and Hours of Service. This means inspectors will be closely scrutinizing driver ELD records and ensuring all required lighting devices on the truck (and trailer if applicable) are inspected for proper operation, mounting and visibility.
The focus areas are chosen based on violation trends. Last year, “lamps inoperable” was the most commonly cited vehicle violation, accounting for 12.24% of all vehicle violations. The top driver out-of-service category in North America last year was for hours of service, which accounted for 34.7% of all driver out-of-service violations.
If no vehicle violations are discovered during a Level I inspection, a CVSA decal will be affixed to the vehicle. If the vehicle and/or driver fails an inspection, they may be placed out-of-service until the problem is corrected. For example, if a vehicle is found to have a critical safety defect like brake deficiencies, it will need to be repaired before it can be driven again, which could seriously disrupt the trip and the customer’s freight delivery. So, good preparation is key.
To prepare, trucking companies should communicate with their drivers about the event, and the focus areas. Drivers should prepare for any roadside inspection by conducting thorough pre-trip and post-trip inspections and carefully noting any defects on the Driver Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR). When conducting the pre-trip inspection, drivers should be sure to review the previous DVIR to verify the defects noted from the prior trip were repaired before departing. Drivers should also be prepared to provide their driver’s license, registration, and medical certification if asked. Also, drivers must know how to electronically transmit their ELD record to an inspector. And, they should maintain an eight day supply of blank paper logs as well as an ELD instruction sheet describing how to respond to a malfunction, and how to transfer records.
Will the ongoing pandemic affect the Roadcheck inspection process? Yes, State and Provincial enforcement officials will be following their respective department’s health and safety guidelines. This may vary state-to-state, and in Canada, so plan to be respectful and to follow the instructions provided by the inspector.
Go here to read more about this year’s Roadcheck!