With the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) International Roadcheck set for May 4-6, the 72-hour commercial vehicle inspection blitz will be unleashed upon the industry—ready or not—before we know it.
As is tradition, the CVSA sets categories of focus for roadside inspections during this annual high-volume, high-visibility event. This year, law enforcement officials will be taking an extra careful look at vehicle lighting and hours of service (HOS) as they primarily conduct the 37-step North American Standard Level I Inspections.
A quick rundown: Inspectors will ensure a vehicle’s brake systems, cargo securement, coupling devices, driveline/driveshaft components, driver’s seat, exhaust systems, frames, fuel systems, lighting devices, steering mechanisms, suspensions, tires, van and open-top trailer bodies, wheels, rims, hubs and windshield wipers are compliant with regulations.
The call for heightened scrutiny regarding HOS and lighting stems from last year’s numbers. During the 2020 Roadcheck, HOS was the number-one driver out-of-service violation, accounting for 34.7% of all driver out-of-service violations; while, during fiscal 2020, inoperable lamps accounted for 12.2% of all vehicle violations and 4.4% of all vehicle out-of-service designations, according to the CVSA.
For clarification, the term “inoperable lamps” not only refers to what we think of as the traditional bulbs and wires that dot a truck’s exterior. It also refers to reflectors. While a broken reflector on a trailer, for example, will result in only a minor violation, a piece of equipment operating with a headlight or turn signal out will result in a more serious violation—not to mention putting the driver and those around him or her at risk.
“Combating light violations always begins with consistent and thorough pre- and post-trip inspections,” said Chris Disantis, Aim Senior Director of Maintenance. “It’s also important to identify the root cause of the issue. Most of the time the solution is as simple as a light needing replaced; sometimes, however, lighting outages could be symptomatic of a more serious underlying electrical issue, and it’s important to identify and repair those quickly before they wreak havoc on your equipment, jeopardizing the safety of the driver and those around him.”
The focus on HOS will be a big test for the HOS rule adjustments that went into effect last September. It’s crucial that drivers not only know the rules and abide by them but that they also know how to use their electronic logging device (ELD) and what law enforcement will want to look at during a roadside inspection.
For further clarification on the HOS rule changes, you can watch this video of Aim's Vice President of Safety & Compliance, Ron Bourque, covering this topic as part of Aim's ongoing series of webinars.
As a reminder, the basics drivers should be prepared to show inspectors are:
- Commercial driver’s license
- Medical certificates
- Bill of lading, hazmat information (if necessary) and any other required load-related documentation
- Roadside view ready ELD
- Proof of periodic inspections
Vehicles passing inspection without critical vehicle violations should receive a CVSA decal. Typically, CVSA decals are valid for three months, during which the vehicle won’t be re-inspected. Instead, officials concentrate their efforts on vehicles without decals. That, however, doesn’t mean a vehicle with a CVSA decal is immune to further inspections. As always, it’s vital to stay compliant and safe to avoid injury and operational disruptions.
Continuing from last year, law enforcement personnel will conduct inspections following their departments’ health and safety protocols as it pertains to COVID-19 considerations. In addition, as the COVID-19 vaccine rollout continues, every effort will be made to get vaccine shipments to their destination quickly and safely. COVID-19 vaccine shipments will not be held up for inspection unless there is an obvious serious violation that is an imminent hazard.
Aim customers can always contact their local Aim representative with any safety- or compliance-related questions or concerns.