This year's Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) international roadcheck, the largest enforcement program for commercial motor vehicles, will take place June 4-6 and focus on steering and suspension systems alongside general maintenance. During the three day event, popularly dubbed the 'inspection blitz,' truck drivers can expect to undergo a thorough examination of their vehicle and engine. These inspections will take place at inspection sites, weigh stations and patrol locations along major highways and roadways across the United States and Canada.
According to the CVSA, an average of 15 vehicles are inspected each minute during the 72-hour period. Of the nearly 70,000 vehicles inspected in 2018, 22 percent were found to be in violation—so it's important to be prepared. To help your fleet get ready, we've created a guide to get your drivers up to speed on what the CVSA commercial motor vehicle inspectors will be looking for during this year's inspection.
This year’s focus: Steering and suspension systems
According to the CVSA president Chief Jay Thompson, the decision for this year's focus was based on the implications steering and suspension systems have on commercial motor vehicle safety. “Not only do they support the heavy loads carried by trucks and buses, but they also help maintain stability and control under acceleration and braking, keeping the vehicle safely on the road," Thompson said. "Furthermore, they keep tires in alignment, reducing chances of uneven tire wear and possible tire failure, and they maximize the contact between the tires and the road to provide steering stability and good handling.” Steering and suspension systems work in tandem to provide drivers more control over their vehicle.
So, how does your fleet make sure its vehicles' steering and suspension systems are up to par?
Like any other part of your vehicle, these systems experience normal wear and tear and require periodic maintenance. Make sure to service these systems approximately every 50,000 miles or anytime your driver experiences unusual amounts of bumpiness, notices the vehicle drifting or swaying, or detects loose or hard steering. If a driver does notice any of the above, you can check tire pressure yourself but if the issue persists, have a mechanic inspect vehicle springs, fluid levels, brake rotors, shock absorbers, steering gear, and steering drive belt.
Understanding the different types of roadside inspections
During the inspection, safety inspectors will primarily conduct the North American standard level I inspection, but there are other types of inspections to prepare for, too.
- Level I inspection is the most common and thorough of the CVSA inspections. It consists of a 37-step procedure that examines driver operating requirements and mechanical fitness.
- Level II inspection or 'walk around driver/vehicle inspection' includes a thorough look at every part of the vehicle but does not look at the engine.
- Level III inspection or 'driver/credential/administrative inspection' focuses on driver credentials and paperwork.
Preparing for the vehicle inspection
It’s important to put your fleet’s best foot forward for the CVSA inspection.
A good place to start is to have drivers conduct a pre-trip inspection on each vehicle prior to the June roadcheck inspection dates. Ask drivers to check vehicle tire pressure and tread depth along with a more thorough under the hood inspection of the engine and hoses. Though you won’t be judged on tidiness, it’s also not a bad idea to use the inspection as an opportunity to get your vehicles in good shape. Organize paperwork and belongings, wash truck windows, and remove any clutter or trash that’s piled up over time. Make sure to also look out for obvious offenses like a broken taillight or cracked windshield. The vehicle inspection includes a 37-step-procedure that will examine:
- Exhaust systems and fuel systems
- Braking and electrical systems
- Cargo securement, hazardous material, and cargo tank specification compliance
- Coupling devices
- Lighting device operations
- Driveline/driveshafts and steering mechanisms
- Emergency exit and windshield wiper operations
- Van and open-top trailer bodies
- Suspension, hub, rim, tire, and wheel assemblies
The best way to stay ahead of these fleet maintenance needs is by implementing a proactive maintenance schedule. Samsara makes it easy to schedule preventative maintenance based on mileage or engine hours so you don't have to worry about the next time your vehicle needs to go into the shop. Set up alerts with Samsara to remind you the next time a vehicle needs to visit the shop so you can stay up to date on fleet maintenance.
Preparing for the driver inspection
Preparing your drivers is half the battle so make sure to communicate with them early on on what they need to have ready and what they need to know. Hold refresher trainings on things like inspection protocol and Hours of Service regulations to make sure everyone has all the information they need to successfully pass the inspection. Lastly, encourage drivers to organize relevant documents so they have everything ready to go for safety inspectors. Drivers will need:
- Commercial driver's license
- Medical Examiner’s Certificate
- Skill Performance Evaluation Certificate (if applicable)
- Driver’s record of duty status and vehicle inspection report(s)
- Proof of Hours of Service (HOS) compliance
Although the roadcheck only lasts 72-hours, it might also be a good idea to alert customers of potential delays during the three day period.
CVSA Roadcheck 2018 results:
Perhaps the best way to prepare for this year's roadcheck is to familiarize yourself with last year's inspection results. Of the 67,603 vehicles inspected, the top five violations for out-of-service vehicles (any vehicle removed from the road because it was found to be in violation of the CVSA) and drivers included:
- Vehicle brake systems
- Tires and wheels
- Brake adjustment
- HOS violations
- Incorrect or invalid license
If a vehicle is found to be in violation of critical inspection items, it will be rendered out-of-service and prohibited from use until the mechanical issues are resolved. Similarly, if a driver is found to be in violation, he or she will be prohibited from driving until the issue is addressed.
Earn your CVSA decal
Want to pass your CVSA inspection with flying colors? Whether you have a fleet of five or 500, Samsara makes it easy to gain visibility into fleet health. Here’s how Samsara can help prepare your fleet for roadside inspections and beyond.'
- Schedule preventative maintenance to ensure each vehicle is routinely serviced so you can reduce costs, avoid breakdowns, and make sure vehicles are always prepared.
- Accurately capture Hours of Service and have documents at the ready with Samsara’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)-approved ELD.
- Empower drivers to directly share their own inspection findings with mechanics through electronic DVIRs so all major stakeholders are informed as soon as a problem arises.
To learn more about Samsara's fleet management solution, reach out for a free demo or free trial today.