Do Publicized Blitzes Like Roadcheck Really Improve Highway Safety?
July 1, 2009
BOWMANVILLE, Ont. -Truck drivers from across North America hopefully put their best foot forward in early June, when officers at more than 1,000 locations were out taking part in the Roadcheck 2009 sa...
BOWMANVILLE, Ont. -Truck drivers from across North America hopefully put their best foot forward in early June, when officers at more than 1,000 locations were out taking part in the Roadcheck 2009 safety blitz. The annual three-day event has officers conducting Level 1 inspections and other enforcement activities in an effort to promote the mechanical fitness of highway trucks.
In 2008, the inspection results indicated a healthy improvement from the previous year’s blitz, so either drivers are getting wise about safety or wise to when enforcement officers will be on their backs. Truck News went to the Fifth Wheel Truck Stop in Bowmanville, Ont. to see if blitzes like Roadcheck really improve highway safety -or if it’s just a mirage.
Ken Davidson, a driver with Wilburn Archer Trucking in Norwood, Ont. says safety events like Roadcheck often get desirable results -but they shouldn’t be publicized.
“(Roadcheck) gets all the junk off the road and I see a lot of nicer equipment going up and down the road now as compared to even 10 years ago,” he said. “It just depends on how you want to look after your equipment; if you want to keep it off the road for that three days and take your chance and go out again.”
The driver of 24 years added that he keeps tabs on his own truck and his logbook 365 days a year to make sure everything’s in check so he’s always ready for an enforcement blitz.
Garet Steenburg, another driver with Archer in Norwood, says enforcement officers seem to be doing their job well enough, however brief the inspection may be.
“They might improve safety a little bit, but I got pulled over and I just showed them my paperwork and away I went. He tried to get me before the exit and he got me after the exit,” he said. “But overall, what they’re doing is about right.”
Clare Chapman, a driver with Chem-Ecol in Cobourg, Ont., says that whether or not drivers scramble to get their equipment in shape -or sometimes off the road entirely -in time for Roadcheck, at least it raises awareness that drivers should keep their trucks in top-notch shape.
“I think it’s a surprise all year long and (Roadcheck) is maybe a reminder, that’s all. The scales are open all year so it’s always a surprise,” he says.
“You never know what’s going to happen out there (so) you should always have your equipment in 100% working order. It’s the only way to travel.”
Conrad Brady, a driver with Harris Transport in Winnipeg, Man., says he thinks Roadcheck helps keep highways safe -even if it’s just for a little while.
“To some degree I think they (keep highways safe) because a lot of guys start behaving themselves and start making sure they’re doing things properly. On the other hand, there’s a lot of guys that weasel their way through it and just fix things so it looks good. I think to some degree some should be publicized and some should not be,” he told Truck News.
As for himself, Roadcheck doesn’t do much to influence his daily routine.
“I don’t need the government to tell me how to be safe. My opinion on the laws is that people follow them because they are the laws. To me the laws are as much as my conscience if I end up killing somebody. I don’t want to live with that so I just do things properly to begin with.”
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