“How are your wheel ends?”
Not a question you commonly hear from law enforcement or even among truckers. But the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) recently set International Roadcheck for May 17-19 with a special focus on wheel ends.
Each year, CVSA conducts an all-out, 72-hour truck and truck driver inspection effort with its Canadian and Mexican counterparts.
See also: Roadcheck 2022 to focus on wheel ends
Many states and provinces will adjust their “pull-in” rate at weigh stations to check as many commercial vehicles as their enforcement staffing allows—including those which would normally bypass inspection sites. CVSA gives advance notice of Roadcheck and its particular focus so that you can prepare.
Inspectors will conduct the Level I inspection, the comprehensive examination of every major vehicle system. The CVSA brochure on North American Standard Inspections spells out all the steps. Regarding drivers, the Level I inspection looks at commercial driver’s licenses, medical certificates, hours-of-service records, and recent vehicle inspection reports.
But the special focus on Roadcheck in 2022 is wheel ends. So, what is so special about wheel ends? Wheel-end components include the wheels, rims, hubs, and tires on commercial motor vehicles. Historically, violations involving those components account for about one-quarter of the vehicle out-of-service violations discovered during Roadcheck.
Think of it this way: You wouldn’t run a race in flip-flops, and you wouldn’t enter a field goal kicking contest with a broken big toe. The wheel ends are, literally, where the rubber meets the road. Their condition affects the stability and handling of an entire truck. That’s why the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s pre-trip inspection requirements specifically include tires, wheels, and rims. The same holds true for post-trip inspections. Think of wheel ends as the beginning of your truck’s safety.
The inspection data gathered by CVSA during Roadcheck and its other annual enforcement and inspection efforts—Brake Safety Week and Operation Safe Driver Week—help commercial law enforcement and trucking alike to know what safety problems continue and where together, we must make improvements.
There is still time to have your mechanic look over your commercial vehicles in preparation for Roadcheck. A clean inspection benefits your safety score and helps you qualify or remain qualified for electronic bypass programs. This year, focus on wheel ends.
Steve Vaughn is VP of field operations at PrePass Safety Alliance, the provider of PrePass weigh station bypass and toll-payment and management services. Vaughn served nearly three decades with the California Highway Patrol and is a past president of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.