It always pays to be prepared, especially when it comes to truck maintenance.
Here’s why: The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) is vigilant about safety. And while they have announced safety blitzes where they focus on a specific area of the truck, they also have unannounced inspections.
This was the case on May 4 when the agency conducted an unannounced brake check day. During the one-day blitz, 12.4 percent of the trucks that were inspected were taken out of service for brake-related violations. The blitz covered 31 U. S. states and Canadian provinces.
It’s easy to be prepared for the announced blitzes like the one that will occur during Brake Safety Week September 11 – 17. When you know the dates of inspections targeting certain aspects of truck safety, you can ask your drivers to pay special attention to that area during their pre- and post-trip inspections.
You also can highlight those areas for a closer look during your regular preventive maintenance inspections, even going so far as to amend inspection forms to make sure technicians take a closer look at the targeted areas.
But it’s best to be prepared for the unexpected. The only way to make sure your trucks pass these blitz inspections, or any safety inspection for that matter, is to have a robust preventive maintenance inspection and service process.
The process needs to include a mechanism that alerts you on a truck-by-truck basis when PM service is due so that you can schedule each truck in for its needed maintenance.
Your system needs to record when the PM service was completed and you should be able to see reports that show the status of each truck, as to whether PM service has been completed. Without such a system, some trucks — especially those that don’t make it back to your location on a regular basis — will slip through the cracks. Too often with PMs, it’s out of sight, out of mind.
A system that monitors PM compliance doesn’t care where the truck is. It alerts you about an upcoming PM service so you can decide whether to route them back to your shop, or send them to an outside service provider along the route they are traveling. A good system will keep that needed service as an open operation until it’s completed.
If you institute PM tracking in your operation, the next time CVSA conducts a surprise blitz, you’ll be confident that your trucks will pass inspection with flying colors.