Fleet Management, Fleet Safety, Maintenance, Safety

4 Tips to Prepare for the 2021 International Roadcheck

May 3, 2021

Olivia Marcus

Manager, Content Marketing


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Every year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) conducts an International Roadcheck—a three-day enforcement initiative that highlights the importance of safety and compliance through a “blitz” of roadside inspections across North America. This year’s International Roadcheck will take place from May 4-6, with a focus on Hours of Service (HOS) and vehicle lighting. Here is a checklist to help your fleet prepare and decrease the risk of vehicles or drivers being placed out of service.

1. Mark your calendar for May 4-6

In the past, the International Roadcheck usually took place during the first week of June. Last year, it was postponed to September due to the COVID-19 pandemic, causing some confusion among fleet managers and truck drivers.

This year, make sure your back-office staff and drivers know that Roadcheck 2021 is scheduled for Tuesday, May 4 through Thursday, May 6. Consider adding it to your company calendar or sending out communications as the date approaches.

If your drivers are transporting temperature-sensitive COVID-19 vaccine shipments, let them know that they shouldn’t be held up for inspections. The CVSA published an Inspection Bulletin on January 8 announcing that truckers transporting the COVID-19 vaccine would not be unnecessarily delayed, unless there is an obvious violation that is an “imminent hazard.”

2. Expect a focus on HOS compliance and vehicle lighting

The CVSA has been very transparent about what to expect during Roadcheck 2021. Similar to previous years, most inspections this year will be Level I inspections. Level I inspections always include two main categories: driver operating requirements and vehicle mechanical fitness. 

Each year, the CVSA places special emphasis on certain sub-categories of driver or vehicle service violations to help raise awareness about different aspects of roadside inspections. This year, inspectors will be paying special attention to two areas:

  • Hours of Service (HOS): During last year’s International Roadcheck, the top driver out-of-service violation category in North America was Hours of Service (HOS), accounting for 34.7% of all driver out-of-service conditions. This year, the CVSA announced that inspectors will be paying special attention to HOS. Drivers should be careful to update their duty status accurately to avoid HOS violations. Carriers should also be vigilant about annotating segments to avoid issues like unidentified drive time.

  • Vehicle lighting: According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the lighting violation “lamps inoperable” was the number one vehicle violation in 2020, accounting for approximately 12.24% of all vehicle violations discovered that year. This includes issues such as broken reflectors on trailers, inoperable headlights, or broken brake lamps. Drivers should be careful to complete thorough pre- and post-trip inspections and address lighting issues immediately.

3. Coach drivers on the most common driver violations

It’s important that drivers are prepared for all roadside inspection driver requirements to avoid being placed out of service. Inspectors will check the following during the driver interview of a roadside inspection:

  • Driver’s license or commercial driver’s license (class, endorsements and restrictions)

  • Medical Examiner’s Certificate and Skill Performance Evaluation Certificate, if applicable

  • Record of duty status (RODS), if applicable and any supporting documents

  • Illegal presence of alcohol, drugs, weapons or other contraband

  • Illness, fatigue, or other signs of impairment

  • Seat belt usage and condition

  • Evidence of periodic inspection

  • Driver’s daily vehicle inspection report (DVIR), if applicable

  • Carrier identification and status (DOT/NSC Number, or jurisdictional equivalent)

  • Operating authority, if applicable

  • Vehicle registration(s)

  • Proof of insurance

  • Fuel tax permits, if applicable

  • Shipping papers or bills of lading

  • Special permits, if applicable

  • Certificate for Mexico-domiciled motor carriers, if applicable

Prepare your drivers now by coaching them on the most frequent driver violations, so they know what to look out for to avoid citations. As noted, during last year’s International Roadcheck, the top driver violation category by far was Hours of Service (HOS)—meaning that the number one reason drivers were placed out of service was due to HOS violations.

Top 5 driver violations during last year’s Roadcheck

Top 5 Driver Violations, 2020 Roadcheck

SAMSARA TIP: Given this year’s special focus on HOS, it’s especially important to remind drivers about the importance of hours of service compliance. If you are a Samsara customer, our Compliance Dashboard can help you stay informed about potential HOS issues, so you can manage unassigned drive time, proactively identify violations, and coach your team before Roadcheck 2021 begins.

4. Avoid the most common vehicle violations with preventative maintenance

Although there is a special focus on vehicle lighting devices this year, inspectors will be using the North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria to evaluate all aspects of vehicle fitness during any Level I inspection. In addition to lighting devices, inspectors may check a commercial motor vehicle’s:

  • Brake systems

  • Cargo securement

  • Coupling devices

  • Driveline/driveshaft components

  • Driver’s seat

  • Exhaust systems

  • Frames

  • Fuel systems

  • Steering mechanisms

  • Suspensions

  • Tires

  • Van and open-top trailer bodies

  • Wheels

  • Rims

  • Hubs and windshield wipers

  • Emergency exits, electrical cables, and seating (for passenger vehicles)

If a CMV successfully passes both the driver and vehicle portions of the inspection, it will receive a CVSA decal. In general, a vehicle displaying a valid CVSA decal will not be subject to re-inspection during the three consecutive months that the CVSA decal is valid. However, if an inspector identifies vehicle violations, the inspector will render the vehicle out of service. Out-of-service violations must be corrected before the vehicle is permitted to operate. 

In general, you can avoid the most common vehicle violations by staying on top of preventative maintenance. During last year’s International Roadcheck, the number one cause of vehicle-related out-of-service conditions was issues relating to a vehicle’s brake systems, followed by tires, lights, cargo securement, and brake adjustment.

Top 5 vehicle violations during last year’s Roadcheck

Top 5 Vehicle Violations, 2020 Roadcheck

SAMSARA TIP: Avoid these common vehicle violations by staying on top of preventative maintenance and encouraging drivers to conduct thorough pre- and post-trip inspections. If you are a Samsara customer, you can create a usage-based preventative maintenance schedule and set up alerts for unsafe DVIR submissions, so you can immediately address any out-of-service issues before Roadcheck 2021 begins. Plus, you can avoid common violations like under-inflated tires by monitoring trailer tire condition data in real time using our new PressurePro integration.

Breeze through Roadcheck 2021 with Samsara

Part of the Samsara Connected Operations Platform, Samsara’s compliance solution helps fleets streamline compliance and increase efficiency. Samsara’s FMCSA-registered ELD, easy-to-use Driver App, customizable DVIRs, real-time vehicle diagnostics, and API integrations with maintenance tools such as tire pressure monitoring systems (TPMS) ensure you’re always prepared for vehicle inspections.

To learn more about how Samsara can help your fleet streamline compliance and breeze through this year’s CVSA Roadcheck, get in touch with our team today to start a free trial.

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