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Volume-flattening Roadcheck Week slated for early May

Hours of service and lighting will be 2 areas of focus during safety check

Photo: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

International Roadcheck Week in North America is moving back to the spring this year, with May 4-6 set as the dates, according to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA).

Roadcheck Week is the three-day period in which two things happen: Law enforcement authorities across North America ramp up their inspections of trucks in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, and a lot of drivers stay home.

Roadcheck Week was moved last year from May to Sept. 9-11 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

The drop in SONAR’s Outbound Tender Volume Index during Roadcheck Week gives an idea of the magnitude of the decline in volume as a result of the initiative, as many drivers stay home to avoid what they assume will be more stringent law enforcement efforts. 

During last September’s Roadcheck Week, the OTVI plummeted to 13,628 from 16,125. Since then, the OTVI has been lower than the Roadcheck Week levels only around the Christmas and Thanksgiving holidays.

Roadcheck Week generally focuses on one or two areas of safety and enforcement. In 2021, according to the announcement, the focus will be on what CVSA called “driver operating requirements and vehicle mechanical fitness.”

Driver operating requirements means hours of service (HOS). CVSA said that last year more than one-third of all Roadcheck Week violations that took a driver out of service — 34.7% to be precise — were related to HOS. (However, last year’s violations of HOS actually declined, with CVSA attributing the decrease to full implementation of the electronic logging device rule.)

The category of “lamps inoperable” was the vehicle violation that popped up the most last year, accounting for 12.24% of all violations “discovered” during Roadcheck Week.

There’s one type of truck that one won’t get inspected: if it’s carrying a COVID-19 vaccine. According to CVSA, “COVID-19 vaccine shipments will not be held up for inspection, unless there is an obvious serious violation that is an imminent hazard.”

CVSA President Sgt. John Samis, who is also with the Delaware State Police, said in the CVSA statement that there is an element of business as usual during Roadcheck Week. 

“The inspections conducted during the three days of International Roadcheck are no different from the inspections conducted any other day of the year,” he said. “Other than data collection, the inspection process is the same.

“CVSA shares the dates of International Roadcheck in advance to remind motor carriers and drivers of the importance of proactive vehicle maintenance and driver readiness,” Samis said. “International Roadcheck also aims to raise awareness of the North American Standard Inspection Program and the essential highway safety rules and regulations in place to keep our roadways safe.”

The list of violations on the truck that inspectors will look for, according to the CVSA statement, has roughly 15 items on it, ranging from windshield wipers to wheels. 

It is not only trucks that are inspected. Buses and passenger vans also get looked over during Roadcheck Week.

If a vehicle passes inspections during Roadcheck Week, it gets a decal that is supposed to exempt it for reinspection for three months. 

Besides the equipment, drivers also get checked, according to CVSA. Beyond the focus on HOS, CVSA said its inspections will look at items such as seat belt usage and drug or alcohol violations.

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John Kingston

John has an almost 40-year career covering commodities, most of the time at S&P Global Platts. He created the Dated Brent benchmark, now the world’s most important crude oil marker. He was Director of Oil, Director of News, the editor in chief of Platts Oilgram News and the “talking head” for Platts on numerous media outlets, including CNBC, Fox Business and Canada’s BNN. He covered metals before joining Platts and then spent a year running Platts’ metals business as well. He was awarded the International Association of Energy Economics Award for Excellence in Written Journalism in 2015. In 2010, he won two Corporate Achievement Awards from McGraw-Hill, an extremely rare accomplishment, one for steering coverage of the BP Deepwater Horizon disaster and the other for the launch of a public affairs television show, Platts Energy Week.