National Connections, Local Ownership
National Connections, Local Ownership

There’s Still Time to Assess Your Fleet’s 2021 Roadcheck Readiness

With the International Roadcheck for 2021 just a few days away, make sure you’ve done your due diligence with respect to every vehicle in your fleet. 

We know its coming every year, and yet we never seem to be fully prepared for it. Of course, Im talking about the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) International Roadcheck. This year, the 72-hour safety blitz will take place from May 4 to 6 throughout the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. Although I wrote a blog on this topic for IdeaXchange back in February, I felt this might be a good time to review. 

This is one of the most promoted events from the CVSA, which annually gives the industry fair warning about timing and focus. CVSA President Sgt. John Samis with the Delaware State Police explains, “CVSA shares the dates of International Roadcheck in advance to remind motor carriers and drivers of the importance of proactive vehicle maintenance and driver readiness.” 

Roadcheck consists of Level 1 and Level V inspections, meaning inspectors will be looking at the vehicle’s brake systems, cargo securement, coupling devices, driveline/driveshaft components, driver’s seat, exhaust systems, frames, fuel systems, lighting devices, steering mechanisms, suspensions, tires, van and open-top trailer bodies, wheels, rims, hubs and windshield wipers in order to make sure they are compliant with regulations. 

Every year, CVSA picks an area of focus; a vehicle function and/or driver behavior to look at closely. This year there are two — hours of service is the focus in the driver category and lighting will get extra attention in the vehicle category. It is totally understandable why lighting is a major focus. The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) said that the lighting violation “lamps inoperable” (Title 49 Code of Federal Regulation 393.9) was the top violation in fiscal year 2020.  It accounted for 12.24% of all vehicle violations discovered that year. 

Use the next three weeks wisely. 

With all this in mind, and if they have not already done so, fleets should use the next three weeks to analyze maintenance and repair data along with data from previous roadside inspections to notice patterns of recurring problems and to discover the root causes of those issues. Then, steps can be taken to change inspection procedures or maintenance practices so that those problems can be found and fixed before trucks leave the yard. Maintenance and management need to always remember…to really fix a problem, it is important to identify the root cause. This cab be tricky when dealing with electric components. There is no point in just fixing the symptom because that only temporarily makes things better. Permanent fixes require digging deep to find the real culprit. 

I write about Roadcheck every year when it rolls around. And I probably will keep doing it as long as the statistics that are posted following the safety blitz continue to show fleets getting violations — and even getting placed out of service — for issues that could have been taken care of by a change in the vehicle inspection process and maintenance procedures. It is up to all of us to improve the statistics that result from the Roadcheck. 

Read more of Jane’s IdeaXchange blogs.