It’s that time of year again for the largest inspection blitz for commercial vehicles in the world. This year’s International Roadcheck is set to take place on June 4-6, when officers across the U.S., Mexico, and Canada will come out in droves to inspect an average of 17 vehicles per minute over a 72-hour period.
Focus on Steering and Suspension
Each year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) designates an area for inspectors to focus on. This year the CVSA is emphasizing steering and suspension systems. While officers always check these vehicle components during any roadside inspection, this year they’ll have a laser focus on them.
Last year officers placed 11,910 vehicles out of service for vehicle-related violations. You don’t want to end up in that club this year. Beyond the cost associated from vehicles being placed out of service, you could also be slapped with fines or lower CSA scores. With the blitz just a week away, the time is now for carriers and drivers to prepare.
In this two-part blog post series, we’ll provide a quick overview of how you can prepare your drivers to pass the vehicle compliance portion of a roadside inspection with flying colors.
How to Prepare for (and Pass) an International Roadcheck Roadside Inspection
In addition to training drivers on other areas of compliance, carriers should develop a company-wide vehicle compliance campaign that everyone follows—from fleet managers to drivers to techs—to ensure the steering and suspension systems on your vehicles are in tip-top shape before this year’s Roadcheck event.
This will require a combination of training, education, and reviewing the current maintenance and inspection processes you have in place. In this article, we will provide tips on how to prepare your drivers for the roadside inspection process itself (See part II tomorrow for specific tips on ensuring your steering and suspension systems are Roadcheck-ready).
Take a Page from the CVSA’s Playbook
To pass an inspection you need to think like an inspector. The CSVA has a brochure that lists each step an officer takes when conducting an inspection. Carriers should share this brochure with their drivers or incorporate this information into their training. One good training technique is to stage a mock roadside inspection with your drivers and go through the process step-by-step. This allows you to see who needs additional help before interacting with an actual officer who might be less forgiving.
Provide Drivers with the Necessary Documentation
During a roadside inspection, the officer might ask the driver for the following documents:
- Driver’s license
- Medical Examiner’s Certificate
- Skill Performance Evaluation Certificate
- Shipping papers
- Hours-of-service (HOS) records
- HOS supporting documents (bills of lading, receipts, etc)
- and recent vehicle inspection reports
Inspectors, just like drivers, want finish the inspection process as quickly possible. Carriers should provide drivers with an accordion folder or some other organizational tool to store their documents in. This will help keep all their necessary documents organized and in a centralized place that they can easily access during an inspection. By having all the necessary paperwork at the ready, you make everyone’s job easier and can get back on the road faster.
Train Drivers on Proper Pre- and Post-Trip Inspection Processes
Conducting a thorough pre- and post-trip inspection is the key to identifying mechanical issues before a DOT officer does. Even though drivers routinely perform these inspections, don’t assume every driver in your fleet knows what defects to look for or even how to properly conduct one. To ensure everyone is on the same page when it comes to proper inspection processes, carriers should provide refresher training prior to this year’s Roadcheck.
The following tips can help you establish consistent inspection processes that everyone in the fleet understands and follows:
- The CVSA released a cheat sheet that details each component of the truck and defects that the inspector will check for. This information can help you match your inspection processes with that of an inspector’s.
- Walk drivers through the required areas they need to check during their inspections, component-by-component.
- Use a Driver Vehicle Inspection Report (DVIR) form that’s designed to support this systematic flow around the truck.
- Stage defects on trucks and test drivers to see if they can identify them.
- Adopt an ELD system that allows drivers to share their DVIR’s with your mechanics and train both parties on how to access and transfer vehicle information. You should also train drivers on how they can transfer that information to officers.
- Although not required, remind drivers to monitor the overall cleanliness of the cab. A messy cab, dirty windshield, or cluttered dashboard is a red flag for some officers and can make a difference in whether you get inspected or not.
Next Step: Getting Aligned on Suspension and Steering Compliance
Preparing your drivers for the inspection process is only half the battle. The next step is ensuring all the critical elements on your trucks, especially the steering and suspension systems, are up to code.
Check part II of this blog post to find out how you can ensure your trucks’ steering and suspension systems are within compliance before this year’s Roadcheck event.