International Roadcheck 2024 Kicks Off Next Week

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) International Roadcheck, the trucking industry’s annual safety blitz, will start Tuesday (May 14) through Thursday (May 16). During this three-day stretch, there will be increased enforcement of commercial motor vehicle inspections across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.

Unprepared carriers as well as truck drivers are at a higher risk of violations throughout the high-visibility, high-volume inspection bonanza. In some cases, failed inspections may result in out-of-service violations, dramatically hindering a carrier’s safety record and reputation.

However, for fleets that do prepare beforehand, a successful bout during Roadcheck can have the opposite effect. The safety blitz is their golden opportunity of showcasing their commitment to safety to law enforcement, reinforcing a positive perception of their operating practices.

Alcohol and drugs, tractor protection systems are this year’s focuses

Each year, CVSA’s Roadcheck places emphasis on different safety-related areas across trucking’s operating procedures. Typically, these focus areas are chosen depending on recent issues or trends observed over the past year.

This year’s installment will feature two marquee areas: alcohol and controlled substance possession; and tractor protection systems.

Alcohol, controlled substance possession

While law enforcement has always challenged carriers to establish and enforce strict workplace policies surrounding illicit substances, the matter will headline Roadcheck 2024 following FMCSA data which conveys the number of drivers with failed tests relating to drug or alcohol possession/use has been increasing.

Tractor protection systems

The other focus area will surround awareness over critically important vehicle components: tractor protection valves; trailer supply valves; and anti-bleed-back valves. The CVSA noted that anti-bleed-back valves are often overlooked during standard roadside inspections.

A breakdown on inspections

However, law enforcement will not just be on the lookout for illicit substances and compromised truck valves.

Over the three-day period, certified inspectors will conduct their regular North American Standard Level I Inspection. During the vehicle portion of the inspection, they will examine the brake systems, cargo securement, and other mechanisms and systems. If a vehicle passes without any critical violations, it may receive a coveted CVSA decal. However, if the vehicle does not pass and, instead, inspectors find out-of-service violations, the truck will be forbidden to operate until its respective owner properly addresses the faults.

Next, inspectors will conduct the driver portion of the examination. They will check the driver’s operating credentials, license status, hours-of-service documentation, seat belt usage, and, as emphasized this year, for alcohol and drug possession/impairment.

Should a driver be flagged with an out-of-service violation, which may include them exhibiting signs of impairment, the inspector will prohibit the driver from operating their vehicle and, if applicable, take further action whether that’s an arrest or alerting the driver’s employer.

Due to the higher volume during Roadcheck, inspections are not limited to being held at weigh stations. Law enforcement officials will also conduct them across temporary sites and mobile patrols.

How carriers can prepare for Roadcheck

There are several ways in which carriers can prepare for Roadcheck.

Educate, inspect their own drivers

It would be nerve-wracking for truck drivers, especially newer ones, to pull over for an unexpected inspection by law enforcement if they have had little to no preparation or knowledge of their carrier’s safety standards.

Prior to Roadcheck, carriers should conduct their own inspections and educate their workforce of what is expected of them during a roadside inspection. Think of Roadcheck as a history or biology final. Without months to study the material, students would likely fail those exams. The same applies for truck drivers with roadside inspections. If they have no understanding of what they are being evaluated on and no knowledge of what condition their vehicle is in, they are set up for failure.  

The CVSA provides a “cheat sheet” on what drivers can expect during a standard driver inspection.

Make pre-trip inspections a regular routine

Unfortunately, pre-trip inspections are not as common of a practice as many would hope. While most truck drivers have made it apart of their routine, others will not always conduct them, whether that is out of lack of care or they are in a rush. Carrier management should make sure drivers are walking around their vehicles, assessing lights, tires, and placards. Imagine if a driver forgoes a pre-trip inspection, pulls over for Roadcheck, and is written up because they did not have a fire extinguisher onboard.

All carrier personnel are responsible for safety

A lot of focus is placed on truck drivers. After all, they are the subjects being evaluated during roadside inspections. However, the scope of responsibility extends beyond one single driver and falls on the entire staff of the carrier.

There should be a clear line of communication between drivers, management, and maintenance staff. For example, in the case of an equipment violation, the entire staff should be on the same page with the issue and investigate when the vehicle was last serviced.

Final Thoughts

As many carriers prepare for next week’s Roadcheck, there appears to be a handful of them that lay low during the three-day safety blitz.

Courtesy of insights from FreightWaves SONAR, load rejections rose during the days leading up and through Roadcheck 2023. The strange blip in increased rejections, especially during a time when shipper demand was low and carriers were frantic for volume, strongly suggests that some carriers, as well as drivers, may have chosen to holdoff from taking on loads during the three-day period of increased inspections and visibility.

It will be intriguing to see if a similar trend is observed during this year’s Roadcheck, May 14-16.

Contact one of our team members if you have any questions regarding this topic or any others in domestic logistics.

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