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CTA’s Bradley questions usefulness of Roadcheck program

OTTAWA, Ont. Though the numbers released from Roadcheck 2006 the Canadian component of the annual North America...

OTTAWA, Ont. Though the numbers released from Roadcheck 2006 the Canadian component of the annual North American truck inspection blitz show that the mechanical fitness of trucks is continuing on a positive 10-year trend, Canadian Trucking Alliance CEO David Bradley remains skeptical of value of a three-day program.

“Safety should be a 365 days a year pre-occupation,” Bradley says. “There is a school of thought that roadside inspections are less effective as a compliance tool than facility audits. More recent research suggests there should be more focus on driving behaviour by all drivers than on the mechanical condition of trucks.”

Bradley also pointed out that the industry has long questioned the methodology used during Roadcheck. First, while Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance states that vehicles are selected randomly, no statistics are kept on the number of vehicles waved through an inspection station and considered “passed” due to the presence of a valid CVSA inspection decal, Bradley says.

“A few years ago, at the industry’s request, these numbers were tracked and resulted in significant reductions in out-of-service rates. However, that practice was discontinued and the validity of the numbers has suffered as a result,” Bradley said.

Moreover, Bradley questions the linkage between out-of-service rates recorded and real-life safety performance, since an out-of-service condition can occur for something as simple as a burned-out signal light bulb.

“By not providing details on the number of trucks showing a valid CVSA decal, nor on the number and type of serious defects that resulted in a shutdown or tow-away, there is a real limit to what can be learned from Roadcheck,” Bradley says.

A total of 7,384 trucks were inspected in Canada over the three days with This year, 79.7% of vehicles passed the rigorous CVSA inspection process, compared with 81.4% in 2005 and 78.3% in 2004. The out-of-service rate for drivers inspected in Canada reflecting log book or other documentation problems remained low at under 4%.

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