Every year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) performs a 3-day International Roadcheck Inspection blitz to conduct compliance, enforcement and educational initiatives targeted at various elements of motor carrier, vehicle and driver safety. They also perform an annual Brake Safety Week to identify and remove CMVs with critical brake violations from the roadways.
CVSA inspections are quite thorough, which is why it is imperative for CDL (commercial driver’s license) drivers to be prepared so as not to suffer adverse professional consequences. Any commercial vehicles found to not be in compliance with maintenance and safety requirements can be placed out-of-service (OOS), along with some of their drivers, depending on the violations found.
At past roadchecks, it’s common for over 20% of inspected vehicles to be placed out-of-service (OOS). A smaller percentage of drivers are also placed OOS following these inspections. This can have serious repercussions on a driver as well as their employer.
Common Issues Leading to Roadcheck Failure
Some of the most common issues that lead to a vehicle being placed OOS at a roadside inspection include problems with:
- Brake systems
- Lighting devices (headlamps, tail lamps, stop lamps, turn signals and lamps/ flags on projecting loads)
- Cargo securement
Brake systems are the most common factor contributing to vehicles failing their inspection. Other potential mechanical issues that could lead to an OOS designation include problems found with coupling devices, driveline/driveshaft, driver’s seat, exhaust systems, frames, fuel systems, steering mechanisms, suspensions, van and open-top trailer bodies, rims and hubs and windshield wipers.
Additional items on buses, motorcoaches, passenger vans or other passenger-carrying vehicles include problems with the emergency exits, electrical cables and systems in engine and battery compartments and seating (temporary and aisle seats).
The issues that might cause a driver to be placed OOS include:
- Being found in violation of operating without the proper driver credentials,
- In possession of drugs or alcohol,
- Having a false log book,
- In violation of hours-of-service rules.
What Happens if You Fail a Roadcheck Inspection?
A commercial motor vehicle found to be in need of maintenance at a roadside inspection will generally be required to be towed to a repair facility. The OOS vehicle may not be operated until all noted repairs have been satisfactorily completed.
It is also the responsibility of the driver to then ensure that the carrier is made aware of the roadside inspection report within 24 hours. Within 15 days of the inspection, the motor carrier must certify, by signing the roadside inspection form, that all repairs causing the violation(s) have been completed and then mail the form to the address of the issuing agency. The carrier must also keep a copy of the form at their principal place of business, or where the vehicle is housed, for 12 months from the inspection date.
As you can see, it would be much better to avoid being placed OOS in the first place.
Avoid Being Placed OOS with Preventive Vehicle Checks
As a professional driver with a CDL, much of the responsibility for ensuring the operational safety of the vehicle rests on you, the driver. Per the FMSCA, you are required to perform pre-trip and post-trip inspections on your vehicle, to ensure that it remains safe to operate and that the cargo is secured properly.
If during the course of your inspection you deem that the vehicle is unsafe to drive, you are required by law to make sure that the problems are fixed before driving it. Here is an overview of the key components a CDL driver should check every day before they leave their location:
- Brakes – Ensure that you have proper air loss rate, spring brakes are applying correctly, test slack adjusters.
- Fluid levels – Check proper levels and make sure you have no leaks.
- Tires – Are they properly worn? Check tread depth and look for any cuts or bulges.
- All Gauges
- Cargo Securement
Keeping your vehicle in safe, operational condition will save you a great deal of hassle and could even save a life.
DriveTeam offers a comprehensive corporate driver training program including training on load securement to ensure your driving staff become safer, more qualified drivers. Contact us for more information.