March 15, 2023
It’s nearly time again for the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) annual International Roadcheck. The 72-hour enforcement event is set to take place from Tuesday, May 16 through Thursday, May 18, 2023.
If you’ve been in business during a previous Roadcheck event, you know how it works: For 72 hours, inspectors across North America request commercial motor vehicles to pull over for on-the-spot inspections meant to ensure driver and truck safety. Each year, the CVSA highlights a particular focus: In 2022, it was wheel ends. In 2021, it was lighting and hours-of-service (HOS) compliance.
This year, inspectors will pay close attention to anti-lock braking systems (ABS) and cargo securement.
Although ABS violations will not result in out-of-service orders, a truck's ABS prevents the wheels from locking up or skidding while braking, reducing the risk of collisions and drivers losing control of CMVs.
According to the CVSA, improper or inadequate cargo securement accounted for 10.6% of all vehicle out-of-service violations discovered during last year’s International Roadcheck, and past International Roadcheck data routinely found cargo securement violations in the top five of vehicle out-of-service violations.
You can learn more about the 2023 focus area and download a flyer here.
What to Expect During Roadcheck 2023
In order to pick which trucks would go through a complete inspection, the DMV’s Commercial Vehicle Information Exchange Window (CVIEW) system identifies new rigs with companies that haven’t gone through an inspection before, older companies that are overdue, and trucks working for carriers that have poor safety scores.
Inspectors will be looking for any critical vehicle inspection item violations — including coupling devices, driveline and driveshaft components, steering mechanisms, exhaust and fuel systems, tires, wheels, windshield wipers, lighting systems, and driver's seats — and will place non-compliant vehicles out of service, meaning those trucks cannot be operated until the problematic conditions have been corrected.
Those that successfully pass vehicle inspections will receive a CVSA decal to display on their trucks, which will be valid for three months. Generally, vehicles displaying a valid CVSA decal will not be subject to additional inspections for that time period.
Inspections will also closely analyze driver operating credentials and requirements, such as whether they have a valid CDL, an up-to-date medical certificate, or violations in the FMCSA Clearinghouse. Inspectors will also be on the lookout for proper seat belt usage, HOS documentation, and visual signs of fatigue or drug/alcohol abuse or impairment.
Medical Certificate Compliance is a Must-Have
For the past few years, some of the most common violations during roadside inspections have involved valid medical cards.
Per federal law, all interstate drivers operating a vehicle weighing 10,001 pounds or more must have a current medical card. These generally must be updated every two years. Depending on a driver’s health condition, updates are sometimes required more often — which can lead to lapses in renewals, resulting in violations.
The best way to maintain compliance is to ensure that all medical cards are valid, and that drivers with cards due to expire are scheduled for DOT physicals. Just as importantly, audit your driver files regularly to ensure you and each driver you employ has a valid medical card.
You can easily manage this process with automated compliance software that tracks med card expiration dates and any missing driver files.
Be Aware of Potential CDL Violations
Other all-too-common driver violations have to do with CDL licenses. For example, drivers have been caught operating with the wrong license class, with suspended, expired, or revoked CDLs, or with multiple CDLs.
To identify drivers’ CDL statuses, be sure to include a check of the Commercial Driver’s License Information System (CDLIS) as part of pre-employment screening. This will identify every state that a driver has held (or holds) a CDL. It’s also important to keep track of CDL expiration dates with an automated driver file management system (such as Foley's software).
Also, be sure to enroll all current drivers in an MVR monitoring program. This will provide immediate notifications of a license suspension or revocation, as well as DUIs, accidents, speeding tickets, or other moving violations.
Get Ahead of FMCSA Clearinghouse Compliance Checks
Ahead of this year's Roadcheck, it's important to remember the CVSA has added FMCSA Clearinghouse checks to their roadside inspection list for CDL and CLP drivers. If a driver is pulled over during Roadcheck 2023, inspectors will be looking to verify that the driver doesn’t have any violations in the DOT Clearinghouse that would prohibit them from operating a commercial motor vehicle.
If a violation is found, the driver will be pulled from safety-sensitive functions immediately – and any cargo they're hauling will be stranded until a relief driver can be assigned to complete the run.
Not to mention, you could be at risk of paying $5,833 per Clearinghouse violation the inspector finds you committing. This can be a hefty fine for any company, much less a new entrant or small-to-medium-sized company.
To prepare for potential FMCSA Clearinghouse checks during this year's Roadcheck, you should run limited Clearinghouse queries on your drivers to see if they have any violations in their records. If a limited query reveals there are any violations, you must run a full query within 24 hours. For more information on Clearinghouse queries, click here.
Clearinghouse compliance is easier when a third-party administrator manages your registration and query requirements for you. Foley's automated Clearinghouse compliance software runs pre-employment, annual, and additional driver queries on your behalf to ensure any violations are caught before you're issued an out-of-service order during Roadcheck or a future random roadside inspection.
2022 International Roadcheck Recap
During the 2022 International Roadcheck last May, over 59,000 inspections were conducted throughout North America. Inspectors placed 12,456 CMVs and 3,714 CMV drivers out of service.
The top vehicle out-of-service violations and the number of instances were as follows:
Brake Systems- 4,592
Tires - 3,374
Defective Service Brakes - 2,309
Lights - 2,219
Cargo Securement -1,934
The top driver out-of-service violations and the number of instances were as follows:
False Logs - 1,921
Wrong Class License - 1,066
Hours of Service - 367
Suspended License - 260
No Medical Card - 222
This data proves if your drivers are caught with faulty equipment or fail to meet DOT compliance requirements during International Roadcheck inspections, they will be placed out of service and you may be responsible for additional fines as a result.