Known throughout the transportation community as “D.O.T Week”, drivers across North America proceed with a heightened sense of caution. During this 72-hour window, Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) inspectors in all parts of the continent will be conducting examinations of commercial motor vehicles and their drivers.
For each of the 30 annual International Roadchecks, the CVSA selects a primary focus each year and places a specific importance on violations within that category. This emphasis is a way for the CVSA to bring attention to the importance of the selected category as a reminder to the transportation community as a whole. Checking for compliance with safe cargo securement regulations is always a key part to a normal inspection, but this year it has been selected as the highlighted focus.
This sounds simple enough. For drivers however, it tends to put an added complication to shipment planning and adhering to on-time expectations throughout these 3 days. How you might ask? Inspectors will primarily be conducting the North American Standard Level I inspection. This is the most thorough and lengthy roadside inspection as it is a 37-step procedure. These 37 steps include inspection of vehicle mechanical fitness as well as driver operating requirements. Vehicle inspection includes examining items such as coupling devices, driveline/driveshaft, brake systems, exhaust systems, fuel systems, frames, suspension, steering mechanisms, lighting devices, wheels, tires, windshield wipers, and of course cargo securement. Driver inspection includes hours of service documentation, driver’s license review and motor carrier registration as well as shipping documentation. Inspectors also examine things such as seat belt usage and the influence of drugs or alcohol.
On average, 17 trucks or buses are inspected every minute during this 72-hour period. 1.5 million inspections have been completed since the International Roadcheck campaigns commencement 30 years ago. With participation by U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Transport Canada, Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, and the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (Mexico), this is the largest implementation program on commercial motor vehicles in the world.
Communication throughout the industry on safety is critical to the wellbeing of everyone on the roads. As time consuming and tedious as the International Roadcheck may seem, it is a clear reminder how challenging of a job carrier partners have and the numerous protocols that need to be followed in order to keep our society safe while traveling.