Roadcheck 2005 suggests improved safety

Roadcheck 2005 suggests improved safety

Compared to the 2004, the out-of-service (OOS) rate for both vehicle and drivers dropped for the first time in three years, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance said today as it announced the results of the Roadcheck 2005 program

Compared to the 2004, the out-of-service (OOS) rate for both vehicle and drivers dropped for the first time in three years, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance said today as it announced the results of the Roadcheck 2005 program. Running from June 7-9, the program saw federal and state inspectors performed 60,562 truck and bus safety checks on vehicles and drivers at 1,348 locations throughout North America.

. The vehicle OOS rate was 22.6% this year, compared with 23.9% in 2004. Driver OOS rate fell down to 4.5% from 5% the year earlier.

“It’s certainly a good result,” Stephen Keppler, CVSA director of policy & programs told Fleet Owner. “The last couple of years the rates had gone up. Maybe the industry is more aware of preparing for Roadcheck and there has been more focus [that] vehicles and drivers are in order. It could also be the result of the industry being more responsible for maintaining its equipment. But that kind of decrease is significant because year-over-year [trends] typically doesn’t move that drastically.”

Brake-related citations remain the #1 reason for OOS vehicles by a landslide. Out of the total OOS citations to vehicles, 30.1% pertained to faults in brake-adjustment, with another 25.2% involving brake systems. Lighting problems accounted for 11.8%, tires and wheels 8.9%, safe loading 8.5% and suspension 5.1%.

Hours-of-service (HOS) violations data tell a complicated story. The good news is that among drivers’ OOS citations, the rate from HOS violations decreased to 54.2% from last year’s 61.6%.

However, HOS appeared to be more of a problem for drivers in the U.S. in this year’s Roadcheck than last year. The OOS rate related to HOS violations among all U.S. drivers increased to 3.8% from 3.44% in 2004. The results from Canada, on the other hand, showed the HOS OOS rate decline to 1.3% from 2.5% last year.

“Canada right now is going through a process to adjust its own hours-of-service regulations,” said Keppler. “Last year we had a decrease in HOS violation rate once the new rules went into effect—it’s just an interesting anomaly.

“Anecdotally the industry has been saying the new hours-of-service regs have reduced crashes based on last year’s crash data,” Keppler continued. “It’ll be interesting to see what happens this year. Obviously crashes aren’t a function of out-of-service rates, but let’s hope crashes don’t go up because of the increase in out-of-service rates due to hours-of-service violations.

Falsified logbooks were the #2 reason for OOS drivers, with a rate of 12.1%.

The OOS rate for hazardous materials vehicles and drivers increased to 19.6% and 2.4% from last year’s 19.1% and 2.3%, respectively.

“It’s odd because usually hazmat and motor coaches are very safe comparatively to the rest of the industry,” Keppler noted. “It’s interesting to see that [OOS rates of] the entire industry went down, but hazmat went up.”

Safety belt violations jumped significantly to 1,143 from 755, which increases the rate of drivers cited to 2% from last year’s 1.3%.

Total license-related OOS violations increased in 2005 to 12.3% from 10.5%. This includes problems with suspended licenses, endorsements, and disqualified drivers.

“The Roadcheck data and highway safety data is a very broad comparison,” said Keppler. “I do think that it tracks reasonably well with the total number of large truck crashes. The vehicle/driver out-of-service rate tracks reasonably well with the number of large truck crashes year-over-year. If that holds true, hopefully crashes will go down this year.”

Of the 60,562 total truck and bus checks, only 860 were conducted on buses. Data from Mexico has not been compiled at press time.

For more information, go to www.cvsa.org.

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