Roadcheck blitz to highlight hours of service

The annual Roadcheck inspection blitz is scheduled for June 5-7.

GREENBELT, Md. – The annual Roadcheck inspection blitz coordinated by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) is set to run from June 5 to 7 this year, placing a special focus on hours of service.

Thirty-two percent of drivers who were placed out of service during last year’s 72-hour blitz were grounded because of hours of service violations, says alliance president Christopher Turner. “It’s definitely an area we need to call attention to this year.”

While the hours of service rules themselves remain unchanged, inspectors in the U.S. will now be looking for electronic logging devices (ELDs), which were mandated as of Dec. 18. Those who run afoul of those rules will be placed out of service beginning April 1.

Are you complying with hours of service rules?

About 17 trucks and buses are inspected every minute during the Roadcheck blitz that covers Canada, the U.S., and Mexico. And since 1988, that has amounted to more than 1.5 million roadside inspections. Last year’s blitz included 7,713 Canadian inspections.

It involves far more than hours of service, too. Enforcement teams will largely be conducting North American Standard Level 1 inspections, which involve a 37-step procedure looking at drivers and vehicle fitness alike. They conducted more than 62,000 driver and vehicle inspections during the 2017 event, placing 23% of vehicles and 4.2% of drivers out of service.

Inspection levels defined

Level 1 inspections include brake systems, cargo securement, coupling devices, driveline/driveshaft components, exhaust systems, frames, fuel systems, lighting devices, steering mechanisms, suspensions, tires, van and open-top trailer bodies, wheels, rims and hubs, and windshield wipers. Buses face some added scrutiny around emergency exits, electrical cables and systems in engine and battery compartments, and seating. Issues such as seat belt use and impairment by drugs or alcohol are also included.

During Roadcheck 2017, brake systems accounted for 26.9% of vehicle out of service violations, followed by cargo securement (15.7%), and tires and wheels (15.1%). Cargo securement was a special focus during last year’s blitz. Loading and securement issues accounted for 40.4% of dangerous goods violations, with shipping paperwork (22.7%) and placarding (20.8%) rounding out the Top 3 violations in that category.

Today’s Trucking has produced a free video series covering every stage of the inspection process. 

While Roadcheck was once meant to be a random look at commercial vehicles, jurisdictions are more likely to target equipment they expect to fail, CVSA executive director Collin Mooney said in a recent interview.

“We’ve conditioned people to think we were in pursuit of zero. It’s a great goal,” he observed. “We should be in pursuit of 100%.”

John G. Smith is the editorial director of Newcom Media's trucking and supply chain publications -- including Today's Trucking,, TruckTech, Transport Routier, Inside Logistics, Solid Waste & Recycling, and Road Today. The award-winning journalist has covered the trucking industry since 1995.

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