The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance conducts three annual enforcement events:

  • International Roadcheck
  • Brake Safety Week
  • Operation Safe Driver Week

During each of these, the commercial motor vehicle (CMV) law enforcement agencies and inspectors from the U.S., Canada and Mexico who make up CVSA will stop nearly every CMV. CVSA will establish the safety focus for that year and screen all vehicles for that variable.

In addition to these three annual enforcement events, CVSA will on occasion conduct an unannounced safety blitz – again with a targeted area of compliance in mind.

These annual events run similar to end of semester exams in school – with the dates and topics announced well in advance; leaving the decision to students whether or not to study. The enforcement blitzes, take the form of “pop quizzes” to gauge if students were paying attention in class. But the reasons behind these CVSA activities remain the same – to achieve an assessment of how well commercial vehicle law enforcement, motor carriers and truck drivers – all three – are doing and what may need improvement.

Few truck operators hope to get pulled over for an inspection. Some motor carriers may not need the attention, but the results of these CVSA activities speak to overall safety conditions on the road – which everyone faces. And those results are worthy of notice.

CVSA recently announced the results of two exams and a pop quiz. Here is what they learned:

The 2021 Operation Safe Driver Week was held July 11-17. North American law enforcement officers pulled over 28,148 commercial motor vehicles and 17,910 passenger vehicles with drivers engaged in dangerous driving behaviors. Of the 10,486 warnings and 16,863 citations issued, the number one violation by both car and truck drivers was speeding.

Indeed, speeding was also the leading violation in 2020, when the COVID-19 pandemic had diminished traffic volumes and created the allure of wide open roads. Speed enforcement thus became a focus for the 2021 Operation Safe Driver Week.

Among truck drivers and motorists alike, not using a seat belt came in as the second-most cited violation. Failure to obey a traffic control device (running  a stoplight or stop sign) ranked third for truckers and fifth for motorists. Motorists, on the other hand, were frequently found involved in distracted driving or using drugs and alcohol.

The 2021 Brake Safety Week was August 22-28. Of the 35,764 commercial motor vehicles inspected across North America, 12% received out of service (OOS) brake-related violations. In the U.S., that OOS figure climbed to 13.5%. As in 2020, this year’s Brake Safety Week found continued brake hose chafing, a visible indicator of braking issues.

To view year-to-year summaries of Operation Safe Driver Week and Brake Safety Week go to the CVSA website. The clearest message from the 2021 results – everyone on the road should slow down! Clearly, the message from the 2020 Operation Safe Driver Week has not sunk in everywhere yet. Similarly, for vehicle maintenance, Brake Safety Week results tell trucking to pay closer attention to early indicators of brake hose wear.

CVSA also recently announced the results of the 2021 Hazardous Materials/Dangerous Goods (HM/DG) Road Blitz. Conducted June 21-25, U.S. and Canadian officials inspected 10,905 commercial motor vehicles and 8,363 HM/DG packages, resulting in 2,714 violations. While inspectors found only 50 “integrity” violations – a hazmat package was actually leaking – fully 2,553 of the remaining violations consisted of improper labeling, containment, placarding, loading and securement failures – all measures intended to prevent hazmat leaks or worse from ever occurring.

The CVSA 2021 HM/DG Road Blitz results are telling hazardous materials carriers and personnel that every required step and procedure is important to safety — if not now, then potentially to someone down the supply chain line.

Safety is a shared effort. When CVSA shows what is actually happening in our highway workplace, we should all listen.