Roadcheck improves numbers, but CTA’s Bradley questions program’s effectiveness

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OTTAWA, Ont. — The results of Roadcheck 2005, the North American truck inspection blitz, have been issued by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) and show that the mechanical fitness of Canadian trucks continues to improve – in fact, by more than three percentage points over 2004.

A total of 6,878 trucks were inspected in Canada over the three-day blitz which took place from June 7 to 9. Of those vehicles, 81.4 per cent passed the rigorous CVSA inspection process, compared with 78.3 per cent in 2004. (This compares to a North American wide pass rate of 77.4 per cent). The out-of-service rate for drivers inspected in Canada – reflecting log book or other documentation problems – remained low at 3.1 percent, about the same as in 2004. (The overall North American rate was 4.5 per cent).

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

He also said the link between out of service rates and safety problems is a bit vague.

First, in calculating the out-of-service rate, the number of inspections does not include trucks waived through an inspection station and considered “passed” due to the presence of a valid CVSA decal on the vehicle. In fact, the number of vehicles waived during Roadcheck is not published at all.

Second, an out-of-service condition can occur for very minor infractions. As CVSA itself pointed out in its recent release on Roadcheck 2005, “many of the problems encountered were able to be fixed on the spot, so that the driver could continue on his way.”

Furthermore, Bradley said that by not providing detail on the specific defects that caused vehicles to be taken out of service, “there is less and less to be learned from Roadcheck.”

For more information on Roadcheck 2005 results, check out the August issue of Truck News.

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Truck News is Canada's leading trucking newspaper - news and information for trucking companies, owner/operators, truck drivers and logistics professionals working in the Canadian trucking industry.

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