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Proper inspections can help us do better in safety blitzes

Figures are out from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s June Roadcheck inspection blitz, and, a little more than 12,000 trucks were taken out of service (OOS) during the event. More than 67,000 inspections took place in the U.S. and Canada during the three-day event. Do the math and that means 17.9% of vehicles were taken out of service.

Steering and suspension systems were the focus of this year’s safety blitz, and inspectors found 408 steering and 703 suspension out of service violations.

But braking systems still managed to account for the largest percentage: 28%. Brake adjustment issues accounted for 17.1% of the OOS citations. Tires came in at 19.3% of the total and cargo securement issues were 12.2% of the OOS violations.

Issues with vehicles were not the only thing inspectors found. Drivers too were taken out of service. 37.2% of the driver out of service citations were for hours of service violations with false logs making up another 14.7%.

I am always amazed when the statistics come out after Roadcheck. Fleets have plenty of notice about when Roadcheck will occur, so in theory should have plenty of time to get both their trucks and their drivers ready for this concerted safety effort.

I am not naïve enough to think we can make it through Roadcheck without any trucks or drivers being taken out of service. Trucks are mechanical devices and things can go wrong despite your best PM efforts. However, I believe we can be doing better when it comes to planned events like Roadcheck and Brake Safety Week.

In order to stay on top of these events and to improve PMIs in general, it is a good idea to periodically look at your inspection checklist.

  • Does it reflect the things you need to be checking given the current make up of your fleet?
  • Have you made adjustments to include any new technology you’ve added to your trucks?
  • Is the inspection form easy to follow?
  • When was the last time you had a training session on the proper way to inspect a vehicle?

You also need to look closely at the pre- and post-trip inspections your drivers are performing. Check for driver compliance in completing these inspections, but also make sure they are giving more than a cursory look at the various systems and parts that they are required to inspect.

As important, make sure your technicians give DVIRs the attention they deserve. It makes a great deal of sense to have your technician fix a problem that a driver has pointed out rather than wait until a law enforcement official finds it during a roadside inspection.

Roadcheck is an annual event. Wouldn't it be nice if every fleet committed itself to making sure that after next year’s event, even fewer trucks and drivers were taken out of service?

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