Another CVSA Roadcheck is now in the history books. Truck drivers and motor carriers can breathe a sigh of relief knowing that enforcement efforts will return to normal. But that’s no reason to slack off. Being able to pass roadside inspections is as important today as it was in early June, when the annual Roadcheck event takes place.
According to American Trucker magazine, some 3.5 million truck inspections are conducted in North America every year. More than half of those inspections result in at least one violation being cited. That’s not good on multiple levels. Citations mean headaches for both drivers and carriers. Some of them indicate conditions that put other drivers in jeopardy.
So what’s the solution? Consistency. There is a set of criteria established through a combination of federal and state law and industry standards. Consistently following the criteria not only ensures compliance, it also reduces accident risks and makes passing roadside inspections easier.
Consistency in Truck Maintenance
Safety is a top priority of roadside inspections. As such, you can bet inspectors look at every aspect of road worthiness during a typical inspection. They will scrutinize everything from headlights to brakes. They will look at tires, wheels, suspension, etc. When inspectors find violations, they are unlikely to show any mercy.
Consistency in truck maintenance is the best way to address these issues. Trucks should be taken in for routine service at regular intervals. Part of the service should be a thorough vehicle safety inspection. When repairs need to be made, they should be made before the truck returns to service. No exceptions.
Consistency in Cargo Control
Cargo control is another safety issue separate from the mechanical condition of a vehicle. It is no less important though. In fact, cargo control is so important to safety that it was the main focus of the 2017 CVSA Roadcheck. Inspectors are very serious about how cargo is tied down.
Once again, consistency is key here. Truck drivers can help themselves by developing a routine that governs how they secure cargo prior to departure. They can make their lives easier by regularly reviewing cargo control regulations and adapting the way they do things to ensure compliance.
Mytee Products, an Ohio company that supplies the trucking industry with cargo control equipment and supplies, says consistency extends to the various tools truckers use to control their cargo. They remind truckers to regularly inspect their straps and chains. They encourage drivers to make sure their inventory of cargo control supplies is always adequate.
Consistency in Hours of Service
The focus of the 2018 CVSA Roadcheck was the enforcement of new electronic logging rules that went into effect in late 2017. These rules were implemented in order to facilitate greater compliance with federal hours of service rules. As it turns out, violations of those rules are consistently among the top three drivers are cited for.
Consistency in hours of service means, first and foremost, not pushing the envelope. It also means maintaining accurate records of duty status at all times. Electronic logging has made it more difficult to create inaccurate records, but there still are ways of doing so. Drivers should avoid the temptation and just comply with the rules.
Roadside inspections will continue across North America even though the 2019 Roadcheck is history. Rest assured law enforcement agencies will remain consistent in the inspections they conduct. If motor carriers and drivers want to pass those inspections, they have to be equally consistent in truck maintenance, cargo control, and hours of service. Otherwise, they can expect to be among those cited.