By: Steve Vaughn, vice president of field operations, PrePass Safety Alliance

It is time again for International Roadcheck. Each year the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), together with its Canadian and Mexican counterparts, conducts an all-out, 72-hour truck and truck driver inspection effort. For 2021, Roadcheck is scheduled May 4-6.

During Roadcheck, expect enforcement to inspect your drivers and your trucks and make sure to prepare them. Many states and provinces will adjust their “pull-in” rate at weigh stations to check as many commercial vehicles as enforcement staffing allows – including those which would normally bypass inspection sites. CVSA gives this advance notice of Roadcheck so you can be prepared.

Here is what you need to know.

Inspectors will conduct the Level I inspection, the comprehensive examination of every major vehicle system. Take the time to read CVSA’s “North American Standard Roadside Inspection Vehicle Cheat Sheet.” Regarding drivers, the Level I inspection looks at commercial driver’s licenses (CDLs), medical certificates, hours-of-service (HOS) records, and recent vehicle inspection reports.

Also, Roadcheck brings a special focus on areas of vehicle and driver safety and compliance. In 2021, the inspectors will pay close attention to vehicle lighting and driver’s hours of service.

Why those two areas? A look at the statistics gathered from past enforcement events reveals the reasons. In 2020, “lamps inoperable” became the number one vehicle violation. On the driver side, hours of service compliance issues grew into the top driver out-of-service violation. Roadcheck 2021, in the interest of safety, is following these numbers.

With truck lighting as a focus area, these tips will help your trucks pass inspections:

  • Inspectors take their cues from how a truck looks as it nears an inspection site. Does the vehicle appear to be clean and well-maintained? If your truck has an array of clearance lights above the cab with a missing or burned out bulb even one not required by regulation could trigger a thorough review of your truck.
  • Lights can develop problems at any time. That’s one reason pre-trip and post-trip inspections are critical. And don’t forget that drivers must conduct an en route vehicle inspection after three hours or 150 miles. Each of these inspection offers an opportunity for drivers to catch lighting problems, report them to company maintenance, and document them if inspected before repairs can be made.
  • Finally, remember that rocks or debris in the road can lead to a broken light. Drivers must use a “high visual horizon” approach – look well ahead down the road – to safely steer clear of hazards.

The waivers issued by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) due to the COVID-19 pandemic may have caused some drivers to relax their HOS compliance. Motor carriers and drivers should review the latest FMCSA waiver. The commodities eligible for HOS relief due to COVID-19 have changed over time, and FMCSA scheduled all waivers to end May 31, 2021.

During Roadcheck, inspectors will also look at CDLs and medical certificates. Drivers in need of CDL and medical card renewals received FMCSA COVID-19 waivers, but eligibility depends on the original date of license or medical card expiration as determined by the issuing state.

CVSA advises that the 2021 Roadcheck will allow vehicles transporting COVID-19 vaccine shipments to continue unless enforcement personnel observe a violation creating an imminent hazard. All other commercial vehicles, including those traveling under an FMCSA waiver or those enrolled in weigh station bypass programs, may be stopped and inspected.

Roadcheck represents more than a three-day inspection event. It is an opportunity for enforcement personnel and drivers to work together and learn from each other with the ultimate goal of improving highway safety.

There is still time to have your mechanic look over your commercial vehicles in preparation for Roadcheck. A clean inspection benefits your safety score and helps you qualify or remain qualified for electronic bypass programs, like PrePass.

Steve Vaughn is the vice president of field operations at PrePass Safety Alliance, the provider of PrePass weigh station bypass service. Vaughn served nearly three decades with the California Highway Patrol and is a past president of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.

This blog was originally published on the IdeaXchange