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A Blog by TA & Petro Stopping Centers

Truck Inspection Tips to Help You Roll Through Roadcheck 2020

Roadside truck inspections are an essential part of improving the safety of our roadways, and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) is continuing its efforts to do just that with their annual International Roadcheck inspection event, which will take place Sept. 9-11.

International Roadcheck is a high-visibility, 72-hour enforcement initiative that calls attention to the importance of commercial motor vehicle safety through roadside inspections.

Each year, the CVSA places a special emphasis on a category of violations. This year’s focus is on driver requirements, a category that examines the driver’s compliance of critical regulations like annual inspection documentation, hours of service and more. According to the CVSA, of the 62,072 total inspections conducted during Roadcheck last year, the top driver violation category was hours of service.

“We chose driver requirements for 2020 because we now have full implementation of the electronic logging device rule in the U.S. (and the Canadian equivalent is in implementation as well),” said Will Schaefer, director of safety programs for the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. “Essentially, we want to remind inspectors and truck operators of the importance of preventive/reducing fatigue and compliance with driver regulations.”

Although this year’s focus is on driver operating requirements, the inspection will also examine the vehicle’s mechanical fitness. Get ready for Roadcheck 2020 by making sure your truck is well maintained and that you have the proper documents ready to hand over to inspectors.

What to expect from Roadcheck 2020

In the past, Roadcheck has usually taken place during the first week of June, however, this year the international inspection was moved up by one month in hopes that the weather will be more favorable.

The majority of Roadcheck inspections are Level I inspections, during which the following vehicle component groups will be inspected:

  • Brakes
  • Cargo securement 
  • Coupling devices
  • Fuel and exhaust systems
  • Frame, van and open-top trailers 
  • Lighting devices (headlamps, tail lamps, stop lamps, turn signals)
  • Steering and suspension
  • Tires, wheels, rims and hubs 

Make sure your truck is well maintained 

Prior to hitting the road, you should always conduct a thorough pre-trip inspection to identify any mechanical issues, not only to avoid being placed out of service, but to ensure your safety and the safety of others on the road.  

Every year, the majority of mechanical Roadcheck violations are related to brakes, and more specifically, brake adjustment. At a minimum, your pre-trip inspection should include:

  • Brakes: Inspect brake system for air leaks. Check slack adjusters for proper stroke and lubrication. Check brake lining or pads to ensure proper thickness. 
  • Tires: Check for proper inflation and adequate tread depth. Make sure air pressure in tires matches the load being hauled.
  • Lights: Inspect tractor and trailer for dim, flickering or inoperable lights and keep any connections and wires concealed properly to help keep corrosion at bay. 
  • Steering and suspension: Inspect steering system for fluid leaks. Inspect the suspension system and verify condition of shocks, springs and mounting. 
  • Securement of cargo: Make sure you’re carrying a safe load and that it is secure.

While there is a clear increase in the number of inspections conducted during Roadcheck, commercial motor vehicle inspections take place throughout the rest of the year as well. Pre and post-trip inspections are just as important before and after the three-day enforcement event. Find a TA Truck Service near you to get a free mid-trip inspection April 15 through May 31 and hit the road ready.

Have the necessary paperwork on hand

Not only should your vehicle’s mechanical fitness be up to par, you should also be prepared to hand over the appropriate paperwork when it’s time to start the inspection process.  

“Having your driver documents and vehicle maintenance all in order helps a lot,” Schaefer said. “Inspectors and drivers are all trying to maintain safe operations and a safe roadway environment. We are all trying to do our part. A shared respect among inspectors and drivers goes a long way toward a positive, efficient inspection experience.”

Roadcheck 2020 will focus on driver operating requirements, highlighting driver related violations, including:

  • Driver’s license/commercial driver’s license (CDL)
  • Medical examiner’s certificate and skill performance evaluation certificate 
  • Record of duty status and any supporting documents
  • Illegal presence of alcohol, drugs, weapons or other contraband
  • Illness, fatigue or other signs of impairment

The violations listed below frequently top the charts for driver related violations and will be inspected more closely during this year’s event.

  • Failure to use a seatbelt 
  • No record of duty status or false logs (ELD is required)
  • Operating a property-carrying vehicle without a valid medical certificate
  • Failure to maintain supply of blank records of duty status 
  • Failed to maintain ELD instruction sheet/card

“Keeping within maximum hours is important,” Schaefer added. “Another common violation is operating a CMV without a CDL. It would help to understand which vehicles require a CDL.”

Having the right paperwork and documents on hand is just as important as making sure your truck and trailer are in good operating condition. Take the time now to get your paperwork in order and make sure the condition of your vehicle complies with FMCSA regulations, so you can avoid being placed out of service and keep on rolling. 

Make sure you comply with all HOS and ELD rules and regulations

The top driver violation during the 2019 Roadcheck event was for hours of service (HOS), with 1,179 individual HOS violations making up nearly 40 percent of all driver-related violations. Make sure you’re familiar with the current electronic logging device (ELD) mandates in place, as well as hours of service rules—like the 11-hour rule and the 30-minute break rule, among others—in order to stay compliant.

As of Dec. 17, 2019, the FMCSA began mandating the use of ELDs, and no longer allows motor carriers to use automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRDs). Although your ELD will keep track of your HOS information, it’s still important to understand how to use your ELD and what to do in the event it malfunctions.

Make sure your device is functioning properly and that you have all applicable documents in order to avoid ELD violations. This includes your ELD user’s manual, data transfer instructions, malfunction instructions and a supply of blank records of duty forms. You’ll also want to make sure you have a copy of your annual vehicle inspection certificate, vehicle registration, shipping papers/manifest (if applicable), any relevant hazardous materials documentation and any permit or state specific paperwork.

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