The results of this year’s Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) International Roadcheck 2019 inspection blitz offered some concerning numbers in terms of driver compliance that could put fleets at increased risk.
The annual inspections, conducted this year June 4 to 6, found that more than half of all drivers placed out of service (OOS) by inspectors were done so because of easily preventable compliance issues. There were 1,179 drivers placed OOS due to hours-of-service violations. That was 37.2% of the 3,173 drivers placed OOS. Additionally, 714 drivers (22.5%) were placed OOS for having the wrong class license and another 467 (14.7%) for having a false log.
As of April 1, 2018, most commercial truck drivers were required to install and use electronic logging devices (ELDs), which should prevent many of these hours-of-service violations. Drivers have been critical of ELDs, but they are the law of the land.
The good news is that OOS orders due to HOS violations dropped from 2018’s 43.7%. Wrong class of license (21.4% in 2018) was down 1.1%, but false logs increased from last year’s 10.2%.
There were 67,072 inspections (45,568 Level I) conducted during Roadcheck 2019, with 9,817 vehicles (21.5%) placed OOS for Level I violations.
For fleets, the fact that so many drivers continue to have HOS violations should be a concerning trend. While the rate is improved from 2018, the 2019 results suggest a focus on ensuring driver HOS and ELD compliance.
Each one of those drivers with ELD violations, their fleets (or themselves if they are self-employed) face a potential, and unnecessary, negative mark on their insurance profiles, never mind potential fines and delivery or pickup delays due to OOS orders.
There remains misinformation in the marketplace about ELDs and who is required to operate with one, and there is another deadline coming Dec. 16. This deadline requires all drivers using an automatic onboard recording devices (AOBRD) and grandfathered under the original ELD rule to convert to an ELD by that date. “I didn’t know I needed an ELD” will no longer be an excuse.
The primary focus of ELDs is compliance with hours-of-service regulations, but as evidenced by the latest Roadcheck results, this remains an area for industry improvement.
ELDs can provide a number of benefits, including the reduction of time spent on HOS paperwork. They also allow dispatchers to track vehicles and drivers’ available hours, eliminating time spent on check calls and ensuring only drivers with available drive time are dispatched for loads with specified delivery windows.
The devices also provide thousands of data points, from GPS location for better equipment tracking to data on poor driving behaviors. Reducing excessive accelerations, hard braking and hard cornering events can lead to a lower insurance risk and perhaps a premium reduction for some fleets. Paired with in-cab video systems or forward-facing cameras, the data is providing a powerful tool for fleets to use for training and even exoneration of drivers accused of being at fault during incidents.
Safer drivers lead to fewer accidents and better insurance rates. But drivers who continue to ignore HOS rules, whether they have ELDs or not, put these fleets in difficult situations. The latest Roadcheck results indicate there is still work to be done in this area.