Each spring, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) conducts an annual International Roadcheck event to promote commercial motor vehicle safety across North America. The Roadcheck event typically takes place over a 72-hour period, during which inspectors conduct comprehensive roadside inspections of commercial trucks and buses.
This year’s Roadcheck is scheduled to take place from May 16-18. During this time, inspectors will focus on enforcing both driver and vehicle safety regulations with an emphasis on proper cargo securement and anti-lock braking systems. While the goal is to ensure drivers and their vehicles are fully compliant with federal safety regulations, Roadcheck week has given rise to another, more unintentional consequence: severely limiting carrier capacity across the country throughout the 72-hour window.
Here’s how shippers and carriers can best manage the controlled chaos that is DOT week.
What Is CVSA?
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, or CVSA, is a nonprofit organization made up of commercial motor vehicle safety officials and industry professionals. Its mission is “to improve commercial motor vehicle safety and uniformity…by providing guidance and education to enforcement, industry, and policymakers.”
CVSA conducts safety and maintenance checks on thousands of vehicles every year, ensuring they are safe to be operating on the roadways. By establishing a consistent benchmark for safety, operators and owners of commercial vehicles can feel confident that their vehicles are safe on the roads.
What Is International Roadcheck?
Every year, commercial motor vehicle inspectors conduct a whirlwind of inspections over the span of just a few days. During this run of safety inspections, around fifteen trucks or buses are inspected every minute across three separate countries. Tens of thousands of vehicles and drivers are checked to ensure safety and compliance with international and domestic laws for commercial vehicles.
2023 Focus Areas and Requirements
This year, the International Roadcheck will be in effect from Tuesday, May 16th to Thursday, May 18th across Canada, Mexico and the United States.
The 2023 CVSA Roadcheck event will place a particular emphasis on proper cargo securement, as overloaded or improperly secured cargo can pose a serious safety risk on the road. Additionally, inspectors will be looking closely at ABS and ensuring that commercial trucks and buses are in good working order. By focusing on these critical areas of safety, the 2023 Roadcheck event aims to reduce the number of accidents involving commercial motor vehicles and keep drivers and other road users safe. All vehicles that successfully pass inspection will receive a CVSA decal.
For drivers, inspections will include:
- Driver operating credentials and requirements
- Valid CDL
- Current medical certificates
- Check record of duty status
- Review periodic inspection reports
- Proper seat belt usage
- Any signs of fatigue
- Signs of drug/alcohol abuse or impairment
2022 International Roadcheck Results
Last year, CVSA-certified inspectors conducted 59,026 inspections, placing 12,456 commercial motor vehicles and 3,714 commercial drivers out of service. The top five vehicle out-of-service violations in 2022 were:
- Brake systems (3,992 violations)
- Tires (3,227 violations)
- Defective service brakes (2,142 violations)
- Lights (2,084 violations)
- Cargo securement (1,647 violations)
What DOT Week Means for Shippers
For shippers, DOT week means a potential increase in transportation delays and higher costs as carriers may need to invest in additional equipment or undergo last-minute maintenance to pass inspections. It is important for shippers to plan accordingly and work closely with their carriers to ensure compliance with safety regulations, minimize disruptions to their supply chain, and avoid potential fines or penalties for non-compliance.
“Communication and transparency is key; shippers should request orders from their customers ASAP to increase lead time. The more defined capacity requirements are, the more efficiently logistics professionals with the shippers and brokers/carriers can position assets accordingly and minimize fluctuations.” — Tarek Kabbani, FCL Sales Consultant
What DOT Week Means for Carriers
There are several things a carrier can do to not only prepare for a DOT blitz, but also maintain stringent standards throughout the year. We asked First Call’s Director of Carrier Sales Shawn Machowiak to weigh in on how carriers can best prep for DOT week:
1. Proper driver training. Drivers should be organized, concise, and hyper-aware.
- Make sure to pre-check and post-check equipment. Be sure to record your time and shoot for 15-20 mins for a thorough inspection. This is especially critical if you’re changing trailers.
- Keep a clean cab! A DOT inspection could involve a cab search, and the more clean and organized the driver is the faster this will go.
- Keep your paperwork together in a binder and organized. We suggest binder organizers with properly labeled tabs. Visor cards (two wouldn’t hurt), registration, insurance, medical, etc.
2. Keep two blank log books. Even if you use ELDs you must keep blank log books on hand to ensure you have the ability to log your on-duty time incase of an electronic issue.
- Certify your logs at the end of every shift! This must be done to ensure you’re maintaining your logs properly in accordance with DOT regulation.
- Be sure if using an ELD you know the process behind transferring your logs to a DOT officer.
- Cooperate. Nobody wants to be stopped for inspection, but being respectful, calm, and kind will go a long way in any inspection protocol.
3. Routine Equipment Maintenance. Make sure your drivers are conducting pre- and post-trip inspections and reporting any issues they see.
- Have proper measures and instruction in place for a driver to remedy any smaller issues while on the road, as well as instruction about what to do in given situations; ie Fuel spill.
- Have a regular maintenance plan at “home.”
4. Awareness and Understanding.
- Knowing about the previous pain points for the DOT in the previous Blitz may very well help you pinpoint where you can focus your efforts. If in the previous year there were a lot of citations for ABS, that may be a focus the following year. Knowing what is going on with regulating authorities will go a long way in not only protecting yourself, but also understanding why these things are occurring.
- The job of the DOT is to keep the roadways safe and shareable for commercial and personal commuters alike. In an effort to bring safety, efficiency, and sustainability to our roadways they must ensure guidelines are met and maintained. Operations like the 72-hour road check provide crucial checks and balances; across the United States, Mexico, and Canada.
Quick Tips and Resources
There’s a lot you can do to be prepared for this year’s International Roadcheck and ensure your vehicles and drivers stay on the road:
- Drivers should always wear their seatbelts.
- A positive and professional attitude goes a long way during an inspection.
- Keep vehicles neat and clean.
- Make sure drivers are prepared with the following items:
- Valid CDL
- Federal Medical Examiner’s Certificate
- HOS Documentation
- Motor carrier registration
- Shipping papers/documentation
- Company’s insurance certificate
- Company’s Hazardous Materials Certificate (if applicable)
- Up to date permit book
- Charged and secure fire extinguisher
- Required emergency equipment
- Proof of annual inspection
Stay Informed with First Call Logistics
At First Call, we’re committed to supporting our carrier network with the resources necessary to be successful. To learn more about First Call’s dedicated and transactional freight opportunities, flexible payment options, and 24/7 carrier support, contact us today.