Operating a large vehicle takes a great deal of skill and carries a lot of responsibility. With so many trucks out on the road at any given time, it is important that they (and their drivers) are in tip-top shape at all times.
Every year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) conducts International Roadcheck (more commonly known as D.O.T. Week). The campaign was postponed this year due to COVID-19, but periodic inspections are still happening every day of the year. We thought this was the perfect opportunity to help you be proactive about your safety and become better prepared for the future.
In 2019 alone, 3.36 million inspections were conducted. Out of 944,794 violations, 195,794 resulted in a truck or its driver being placed out-of-service.
Don’t let a lack of preparedness affect your wallet and safety.
What to Expect
In the United States, CVSA inspectors primarily conduct the North American Standard Level I inspection. This is made up of 37 steps that fall under one of two categories: Driver Operating Requirements and Vehicle Mechanical Fitness.
Driver Requirements (2020 Focus)
Every year, CVSA selects a primary focus of the inspections, usually in response to the high number of violations the previous year. This year’s focus is on Driver’s Requirements.
A CVSA inspector will check a driver for seat belt usage and impairment due to fatigue, illness, drug, or alcohol use. He or she will then collect and verify a driver’s documents (license, vehicle registration, proof of insurance, medical examiner’s certificate, skill performance evaluation certificate). Where applicable, other documentation may be needed, including a record of duty status, fuel tax permits, and evidence of periodic inspection.
Check out our infographic for more detailed information.
Vehicle Mechanical Fitness
Even though Driver Requirements is the focus of this year, it is important to ensure your vehicle can pass inspection at any time.
A CSVA inspector shifts attention from the driver to the inspection of the vehicle. This includes basics—like windshield wipers, lights, tires, and cargo securement to complex systems such as exhaust, fuel, steering mechanisms, and suspensions. There are two common issues that we thought warranted some extra tips:
- Brake Systems – Brake violations make up a large percentage of out-of-service violations. Chafed and/or leaking hoses is a particular concern. Have your brakes checked by a professional for proper adjustment? There are many tools available to measure adjustment as well as the thickness of pads and drums. Here is a helpful, detailed checklist https://www.cvsa.org/wp-content/uploads/Brake-Inspection-Check-List.pdf
- Coupling Devices – Ensuring the proper connection between your trailer and tractor is crucial; failure can cause serious injury or death. There are hundreds of small but important parts that make up this part of your truck. Ensure that all hoses and electrical lines are not damaged or tangled and that all plugs, bolts, and safety latches are firmly secured in place. Here is some more in-depth information https://www.freight-train.co.uk/wp-content/uploads/safe-coupling-guide.pdf
If a driver passes inspection, they receive a CVSA decal to be applied to the vehicle. If critical violations are identified, the driver and/or vehicle may receive a citation or be placed “out-of-service.” This means being unable to operate for a specified amount of time, as well as fines for the driver and his or her company.
Creating and maintaining a regular safety regimen takes time and attention but becomes second nature over time.