International Roadcheck is an important annual event for truck drivers and the industry as a whole. It’s designed to protect truckers, carriers, and other drivers by enforcing safety standards. Learning about the event will help ensure that you’re prepared. Here’s a comprehensive overview.
What Is International Roadcheck?
International Roadcheck is a three-day event that’s managed by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Association (CVSA). During the event, inspectors examine as many trucks as possible, making sure drivers and carriers are meeting the necessary safety standards. It’s one of the largest programs related to safety enforcement, and nearly 17 trucks are inspected every minute throughout Mexico, Canada, and the United States. This year it’s scheduled for May 4th, May 5th, and May 6th, 2021.
Each inspection involves a 32-step process, and everything from the truck itself to any licenses and documents is examined. The first event was in 1998, and since then, over 1.5 million inspections have been conducted. In 2016, for example, the CVSA did over 62,000 inspections. Of those, 3.4% of drivers and 21.5% of vehicles had to go out of service due to violations, such as false logs, hours of service problems, and brake issues.
In addition to enforcing safety standards, the CVSA works to educate the trucking industry and public about the importance of commercial vehicle safety and roadside inspections.
How Does International Roadcheck Impact Shipments?
First off, the process can be somewhat time-consuming for truck drivers. You may need to wait in line for your turn, and the actual inspection can take about an hour. Additionally, drivers being taken out of service due to violations can lead to reduced capacity and delays. Finally, some carriers and owner-operators choose not to work during the week of International Roadcheck, leading to reduced capacity across the industry.
What Is Specifically Inspected During International Roadcheck?
CVSA-certified inspectors will conduct a North American Standard Level 1 Inspection, which focuses on vehicle mechanical fitness and the driver operating requirements. In some cases, the inspector may choose to perform a Level II Walk Around/Driver/Vehicle Inspection, a Level III Driver/Credential/Administrative Inspection, or a Level V Vehicle-Only Inspection.
During the inspection, drivers will be required to provide a commercial driver’s license, a record of duty status, vehicle inspection reports, and a medical examiner certificate. Additionally, inspectors will check for fatigue, alcohol and drug impairments, and seat belt usage. Next, they’ll look for the presence of hazardous materials or dangerous goods. This will involve examining the shipping papers, any spills, cargo that’s unsecured, placards, and any labels.
If no critical vehicle inspection items are found, a CVSA decal will be applied to the truck. However, a decal won’t be issued if a rear impact guard is required and there are violations. In some cases, equipment may not meet the North American Standard out-of-service criteria, in which case the vehicle will be taken off the road until improvements are made.
Keep in mind that if you’re transporting COVID-19 vaccines, you won’t be held long for an inspection by the CVSA unless there’s a serious hazard to the public or major violation. This rule is meant to ensure that the vaccines reach the public as quickly as possible.
How Can You Best Prepare?
Make Sure Your Truck Is in Good Condition
Check that your truck is up-to-date on maintenance, and have your mechanic do a thorough inspection to ensure that you don’t run into any issues during International Roadcheck. For example, have them examine the seat adjuster, transmission function, brake function, and horn. Additionally, they should look at the tires, wipers, and mirrors. If they discover any issues, have them make repairs right away.
Keep any paperwork, such as your license, receipts, and certificates, in a binder. This will ensure that everything is ready when the inspector asks to see them.
Clean the Truck
Having a clean truck will help impress the inspector. Start by cleaning the interior. During your trips, it’s common for trash to accumulate, including chip bags, cans of pop, and jerky wrappers. Make sure to put any garbage in a bag, and clear out the trash often.
Next, remove the floor mats so you can vacuum the seats and floors. You’ll need a vacuum attachment for cleaning the hard-to-reach areas, such as below the pedals, between the seats, and near the dashboard. Make sure to shake out and vacuum the mats, as well.
Clean the inside and outside of the windows with a gentle window cleaner. If the windows are tinted, don’t use a newspaper to dry them, as the paper is abrasive and will remove the tinting. Instead, use a soft cloth.
For the truck’s exterior, you can either get a truck wash or clean it yourself. If you go with the former option, check your company policy about partnerships. Many trucking companies offer washing services at larger facilities, including free washes for company drivers. Others provide truck wash tokens for certain providers. If it’s an automated truck wash, the process will take around 10 to 20 minutes, but it could take longer if there are other trucks in front of you in line.
If you choose to wash the truck yourself, start by soaking the entire vehicle with water. This will remove the top layer of dirt and grime. Next, use warm water and a truck soap to clean; avoid dish soap, as it could damage the paint.
After that, use a foam brush or soft wash mitt to clean the harder-to-reach spots. If you don’t have a ladder, an extended brush will help you reach the higher areas. Once the exterior is soaped up, rinse it off with water. Consider doing one part of the truck at a time, as you don’t want the soap to dry too soon and create marks. Finally, dry off the truck with a soft cloth, making sure not to scratch the exterior.
Maintain the Tire Pressure
Check the tire pressure regularly. This will improve safety, reduce operating costs, and ensure that you pass your inspection. Some trucks will tell you the pressure on the dashboard, but you may need to use a gauge. Keep the inflation number in line with the tire loads. The steer tires should always have a pressure of at least 100 psi, with 105 psi being ideal.
Check the Lighting & Turn Signals
A common violation is “lamps inoperable,” which refers to the reflectors, lighting, and electrical equipment on your truck. Some related violations are considered minor, such as a broken reflector. Others, however, like having a turn signal or headlight out, are dangerous and can result in serious violations. It’ll be difficult for the driver to see other vehicles changing lanes or turning, leading to collisions.
“Lamps inoperable” is also an obvious reason for an inspector to pull over a truck, as it’s easily visible, especially at night. To prevent this issue, do your own inspection before heading out on a trip, and then have any problems fixed right away.
Getting pulled over for an inspection can be frustrating, especially if you’re in a rush to reach your destination. However, it’s crucial to remain professional and respectful, making sure to answer their questions calmly. Acting combative or defensive can result in fines and interruptions. If you get into an argument with the inspector, call your supervisor so the issue doesn’t escalate.
If you’re looking to enter a lucrative field, contact Hamrick School in Medina County, OH. Over the last 30 years, they’ve helped thousands of students become truck drivers. They’ll provide the knowledge you need to drive safely, pass inspections, and get your first job. Call (330) 239-2229 to discuss the admissions process, and visit the website to learn more about their programs.
- OH Reg. #2057
- ODPS License #1439-2369