The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) is preparing 9,000 state, provincial and federal inspectors to conduct its Roadcheck program at about 1,000 sites throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico from June 7 to 9.

Steve Keppler, CVSA director of policy & programs, advises drivers and fleet operators that the best way to avoid a vehicle out-of-service violation is by checking brakes, lighting, load securement, tires and wheels.

“Between [the safety of] those four items, you’d significantly increase your chance of receiving a CVSA safety decal,” Keppler told Fleet Owner. “A simple thing you could check for before you leave the yard is push rod travel; check your brake adjustment before you leave the yard,” he stated “That should be a part of a pre-trip inspection anyway but it is important to be rigorous. Also make sure log books are current and up-to-date. And if and when you get stopped at the roadside, be courteous to your officers—they have a job to do the same as you.”

During the 2004 Roadcheck, CVSA conducted 57,785 driver and vehicle inspections. Of those inspected, nearly half (27,749) were issued a CVSA decal showing a passing safety inspection, and about 44,000 checked both driver and vehicle. The vehicle out-of-service rate was 23.9%, while the driver out-of-service rate was 5%. The hazardous material out-of-service rate dropped to 19.1% from 20% in 2003.

Of the vehicles taken out of service, 55% were cited for brake-related violations—especially brake adjustments and brake system components. The second most common violation among out-of-service vehicles was lighting-related, at 11%.

Among drivers taken out of service, 62% were cited for hours-of-service violations while falsified logs accounted for 12%.

Safety-belt usage was heavily emphasized last year, with 7,968 state and provincial inspectors and 217 federal inspectors distributing brochures to drivers. Only 1.3% of all drivers inspected were cited for not wearing a safety belt.

In 2004, vehicle out-of-service rates increased to 23.9% from 22.7% in 2003 and 22% in 2002. Keppler said that the escalating rate may be the result of more targeted inspections against high-risk carriers.

“I think in the last ten years there has been a very strong push for the enforcement community to be more efficient— and when I say more efficient I mean focusing on high-risk operators,” said Keppler. “There have been technology advances and changes in operational practices to try to focus on problem carriers. When you do that, out-of-service rates will increase. But at the same time you try to recognize the good actors as well—that’s why the [CVSA] decal is important.”

For more information, go to www.cvsa.org