Truck News


Canadian numbers take positive dip during three-day Roadcheck blitz

TORONTO, Ont. Both vehicle and driver out of service rates dropped for the first time in three years during Roadcheck 2005, the annual three-day North American truck and bus inspection blitz held June...

TORONTO, Ont. Both vehicle and driver out of service rates dropped for the first time in three years during Roadcheck 2005, the annual three-day North American truck and bus inspection blitz held June 7-9. With almost 10,000 inspectors participating at over 1,348 locations across the continent, overall vehicle out-of-service rates dropped from 23.9 to 22.6 and driver rates from 5.0 to 4.5.

And Canadian numbers outdid the continental average. Out of a total of 6,878 trucks inspected in Canada, vehicle out of service rates took a significant dip of over three per cent from 20.5 to 17.4, while driver out of service rates had a more modest decline from 3.1 to 3.0.

“I’m rather pleased as an industry representative to see some improvement in our numbers over previous years,” said Ralph Boyd, president of the Atlantic Provinces Trucking Association. “Again work is not done in that whole area. I think we need to work at it on almost a daily basis to improve our performance.”

The CEO of the Canadian Trucking Alliance, David Bradley, said the results of Roadcheck 2005 “are welcome and confirm that overall the fleet is in much better shape than it was a decade ago,” but also agrees with Boyd that a once-a-year blitz is not enough.

“Safety should be an every day priority not just a three-day event,” he said. “There is a school of thought that roadside inspections are less effective as a compliance tool than facility audits.”

Bradley also noted that the correlation between safety and out of service rates is a bit vague. For example, the number of vehicles waived due to the presence of a valid Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) decal on a truck is not published and thus not included in calculating the out-of-service rate.

As well, drivers can be placed in an out-of-service condition for very minor infractions, as the CVSA itself pointed out in a recent release.

“Many of the problems encountered were able to be fixed on the spot, so that the driver could continue on his way,” the release said.

Record Inspections

In addition to the drop in out of service rates, the annual blitz also had a record 60,562 inspections performed by the 9,903 inspectors in 72 hours.

“I was impressed by how effectively the enforcement community came together to inspect such a large amount of vehicles in such a short amount of time,” Boyd said.

CVSA executive director Stephen F. Campbell agreed saying, “We congratulate the efforts of roadside enforcement for their ability to continuously perform at a high level. The inspections conducted during Roadcheck are more than two and a half times their normal output, which results in more lives saved.”

FMCSA administrator Annette M. Sandberg said the program helps to remind the public of the important role that roadside inspectors play in maintaining highway safety.

“By pulling potentially unsafe commercial vehicles and drivers off the road, they are helping to save lives and to prevent large-truck crashes,” she said.

Local Blitz

In Calgary, truckers faced enforcement following Roadcheck during a three-day inspection blitz executed by the Calgary Police Service Truck Unit.

During the three-day blitz, Sgt. Blake Somerset told Truck News 466 trucks were inspected at three locations within the city.

Day one was based at Barlow Tr. and 130th Ave. SE, the unit was stationed at Crowchild Tr. and Flanders Ave on day two and the blitz wrapped up on day three at Beddington Tr. near Country Hills Blvd. Forty per cent of the trucks inspected passed while 33 per cent required minor repairs and 27 per cent required major repairs.

In total, 180 violations were issued, mostly related to lighting, steering, suspension and brake problems.

Some suspended drivers were also taken off the road.

That OOS rate during the local blitz was considerably higher than the national average during Roadcheck of 17.4 per cent.

“In Alberta we’d like to be in line with the national average, but we’ve been as high as 32 per cent in the past,” said Somerset.

He attributed the increase to the number of vehicles travelling through the city and said most problem vehicles are smaller trucks operated by contractors such as landscapers and roofers.

The semis tend to have a better compliance rate, Somerset said. n

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