How’s your drive going this week?
We’re well into the 72-hour high-visibility, commercial vehicle inspection and enforcement initiative known as International Roadcheck. Inspectors in the U.S., Canada, and Mexico are expected to make 70,000 inspections of trucks and drivers at weigh stations, temporary inspection sites, and on roving patrols May 17-19.
It’s been called truckers’ least favorite week of the year. Inspections can tie up a driver for anywhere from 15 minutes to a couple of hours. Nobody likes being slowed down. But most understand that it is all about ensuring the safe operation of commercial vehicles of all sizes – and that’s good for everyone on the road.
During Roadcheck, vehicles and drivers that pass a North American Standard Level I inspection receive a CVSA decal. That may not seem a lot for passing a tedious 37-step process. But with that decal displayed on his or her truck, the driver should not have to worry about being stopped for another inspection for the next three months. And more importantly, there’s the satisfaction in knowing you’re making a positive contribution to road safety.
On the other hand, if inspectors identify violations, the driver or commercial vehicle will be restricted from travel until those conditions are addressed. Bummer!
The focus of Roadcheck 2022 is on wheel ends, and the connection to safety is obvious. Wheel end components are critical for braking, of course, but also for stability and control, especially under heavy loads.
Some owner operators and small fleets apparently sit out the three days rather than endure the hassle of an inspection and risk being written up for violations. In fact, a study of data from DAT MembersEdge for each of the past four years shows that the number of trucks posted on DAT boards drops about 6% the week of Roadcheck compared with the previous week.
Reportedly, some drivers intentionally schedule vacation during Roadcheck; we’d like to think that many others are taking their trucks off the road this week to get them caught up on needed maintenance.
And, yes, you can find a few drivers complaining on Twitter and Facebook about Roadcheck 2022. For example:
“Just when times are the toughest, the government is setting up to screw us more. These blitzes are nothing more than cash cows for BS violations…NOTHING MORE…” (However, this “cash cow” conspiracy theory is weakened by the fact that most inspections find no violations – the CVSA reports that during Roadcheck 2021, 83.5% of the commercial vehicles passed the inspection, leading to 16.5% of inspected vehicles and 5.3% of drivers being temporarily taken out of service.)
Still, most of the tweets and posts so far are supportive of the safety campaign. We expect to see more over the next couple of days featuring drivers proudly posing with their CVSA decal. And even if you’re like the vast majority of drivers who won’t be stopped for an inspection this week, we hope you’re feeling good knowing that the truck you’re driving is safe and well-maintained.
Looking ahead: Operation Safe Driver Week is scheduled for July 10-16 this year with a focus on speeding, and Brake Safety Week will be Aug. 21-27, with a focus on, you guessed it, brake systems.