The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has rescheduled its annual International Roadcheck event for Wednesday, September 9 through Friday, September 11, 2020. Previously scheduled for June 2020 but canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, this year’s event will focus on the “driver requirements” component of a roadside inspection.
The annual event is a 72-hour high-volume, high-enforcement initiative where inspectors in the U.S., Mexico and Canada conduct inspections at weigh and inspection stations or through the use of mobile patrol units.
CVSA acknowledged some struggles adapting to overseeing road safety during the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic. But CVSA’s recent news release about the rescheduled event stated that “Jurisdictions are nearly back to their pre-pandemic capacity with a strengthened concentration on identifying and removing unfit vehicles and drivers from our roadways using federal safety standards and the out-of-service criteria.”
What’s the International Roadcheck All About?
According to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), out of the 3.4 million inspections conducted in all of 2019, almost 1 million driver-related violations (952,938 to be exact…) were discovered, of which almost 200,000 were driver “out-of-service” violations.
While the percent of driver’s placed out-of-service from inspections is low (< 6 percent), 200,000 drivers sidelined for serious safety violations is a staggering number, and the disruption to the carrier’s operation and the larger freight delivery system is also significant.
For the driver inspection portion of an inspection, the inspector will:
collect and verify the driver’s documents
identify the operating motor carrier
examine the driver’s license
check the driver’s record of duty status (i.e., ELD record if applicable)
check the medical examiner’s certificate (and skill performance evaluation certificate if applicable)
for CDL holders, check whether the driver has a record in the new Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse and is eligible to drive
review the driver’s vehicle inspection report
verify seat belt use
determine whether the driver is ill or fatigued
determine whether driver is impaired from alcohol or drug use and check for apparent drug or alcohol possession
Preparing for This Year’s CVSA Roadcheck
New this year is the inspector’s electronic check of the recently created CDL Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. In its first seven months, more than 30,000 drug and alcohol-related violations by drivers were reported to the Clearinghouse by employers and others. Since the Clearinghouse check is new, and for driver awareness and training purposes, motor carriers should consider reviewing CVSA’s February 2020 two-page Inspection Bulletin. This resource contains guidance for inspectors on how they should check the Clearinghouse and what they must do if an unresolved violation is discovered.
Carriers should also consider completing the required annual, limited Clearinghouse query on current drivers prior to the CVSA Roadcheck event (Sept 9-11, 2020), if they have not yet been completed. By doing so, carriers can avoid a potential surprise during Roadcheck if one of their drivers may have applied for a job in the recent past, failed the pre-employment drug test, and chosen not to notify safety compliance personnel at his/her employer.
The onset of the COVID-19 pandemic has significantly impacted roadside inspections this year. Inspectors have conducted 700,000 fewer inspections so far compared with last year, representing a nearly 25 percent reduction. While inspection frequency grew in June and July, it has yet to return to pre-COVID-19 levels.
The inspection process has also changed. Carriers and drivers should be aware that during the ongoing pandemic, the inspector may approach the vehicle using various PPE items such as gloves, a mask, etc. The inspector may also ask to just view the documents by means of taking photos or having the driver show them through the window, etc., rather than having the driver hand them over. Drivers using an ELD should be prepared to electronically transfer ELD records to the inspector. This means the inspector is not likely to ask the driver to hand the ELD device to him/her.
Above all, drivers should be patient, since inspections may take a little longer due to the agency processes and protocols for COVID-19. Drivers should remember—these processes are there for the protection of the driver as well as the inspector.
Setting Your Fleet and Drivers Up for Success Before CVSA Roadcheck 2020
While safety is, and should always be, the highest priority for our nation’s professional truck drivers, drivers and their employers should be aware of this focused enforcement event in order to avoid any unnecessary or unexpected violations. As long as drivers have their credentials in order, continue to conduct thorough pre- and post-trip vehicle inspections, drive responsibly and pay close attention to their speed, there should be nothing to worry about.
Professionalism and respect toward the law enforcement officer will go a long way toward making an inspection a smoother event for the driver. Inspections can be frustrating and, at times, scary for a number of reasons. Drivers should be prepared for International Roadcheck and should be reminded that inspectors are doing an important safety-focused job.
Trimble’s Approach to Safety and Compliance
While roadside inspections are a crucial part of ensuring safety on our roadways, having the right in-cab technology in place is also important to keep your drivers safe and compliant. At Trimble, we are committed to advancing our safety and compliance solutions to adapt to not just new regulations but also to evolving technologies.
Check out our guide to get a better understanding of the changing technological landscape and how Trimble can help ensure your fleet and drivers have the in-cab solutions they need to stay safe, compliant and efficient.