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Roadcheck used to highlight HOS reform, cargo securement rules

June 5, 2013

The annual 72-hour “Roadcheck” inspection blitz in action this week – involving over 10,000 federal, state, provincial and local inspectors working at 1,500 locations across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico – is also being used to remind truck drivers of impending changes to hours of service [HOS] regulations occurring July 1 as well as to heighten awareness concerning cargo securement rules.

“We think HOS reform is going to go smoothly; the vast majority of carriers and drivers are informed about the changes so we’re just using the Roadcheck event as opportunity for another reminder,”

Anne Ferro, administrator of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), told Fleet Owner at the Roadcheck 2013 “kickoff event” held at the FedEx Field football stadium in Landover, MD.

Ferro noted that The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) is helping issue some 75,000 three-by-five information cards detailing the upcoming changes to HOS rules to as many commercial vehicle operators as possible during the June 4-6 Roadcheck event.

“The 3x5 card distribution will help remind everyone that these changes are just around the corner,” Ferro said. “We recognize that these [HOS] changes will significantly affect 7% to 10% of the driver population but we believe carriers are making adjustments to compensate for that.”

“There’s been a lot of ‘wait and see’ in the motor carrier industry as there have been several lawsuits over the changes to HOS rules,” Steve Keppler, CVSA’s executive director, noted to Fleet Owner. “But now the industry must realize that it’s real, it’s coming, and that it [changes to HOS] is no longer in the future.”

CVSA is also honing in on cargo securement rules during the 26thannual Roadcheck event, Keppler added.

“The cargo securement rules changed significantly two years ago so we felt this would be a good time to refresh everyone’s memory about them,” he explained. “It’s also good timing because we are in the process of harmonizing U.S. cargo securement rules with Canada’s. And while the data indicates few cargo securement problems occur, when they do, they are usually catastrophic events. That’s why we’ve chosen to focus on them this year.”

It’s also why CVSA held its first Roadcheck “kickoff event” in Canada this year near Niagara Falls, Ontario, this week, with officials from the Ontario Ministry of Transportation, FMCSA, International Association of Chiefs of Police, and local law enforcement, in attendance, noted Major Mark Savage of the Colorado State Police and CVSA’s president.

“It’s really the perfect time to raise awareness about the cargo securement issue,” he told Fleet Owner. “It’s a safety issue high on our list especially in terms of the harmonization of [cargo] rules with Canada’s.”

Savage stressed, however, that the expectations for Roadcheck 2013 mirror those for last year’s inspection blitz effort: get the “bad actors” off the road.

During Roadcheck 2012, law enforcement and related personnel conducted a record 74,072 truck and bus inspections, including 48,815 North American Standard Level 1 inspections, placing 22.4% of vehicles and 3.9% of drivers out of service (OOS).

Those vehicle and driver OOS rates for Level 1 inspections in 2012 represented the second lowest achieved in 25 years, CVSA noted, continuing a downward trend. By comparison, in 1991 – the first year comprehensive data were available – the Level 1 OOS rates were 34.8% for vehicles and 5.6% for drivers. 

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