GREENBELT, Md. — The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) will be conducting this year’s International Roadcheck Sept. 9-11. During the 72-hour inspection and enforcement initiative, CVSA-certified inspectors in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. will be conducting commercial motor vehicle and driver inspections at weigh or inspection stations, at designated fixed locations or as part of roving mobile patrols. Law enforcement personnel will inspect commercial motor vehicles for compliance with federal regulations and utilize the North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria to identify critical inspection item violations.
Each year, International Roadcheck places special emphasis on a category of violations. This year’s focus is on the driver requirements component of a roadside inspection. According to data from the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA), of the approximately 3.36 million inspections conducted in 2019, 952,938 driver violations were discovered; 199,722 of those driver violations were out-of-service conditions.
“Although the coronavirus pandemic, understandably, shifted priorities and personnel during the spring, the commercial motor vehicle law enforcement community has reasserted its focus on the roadside inspection program and enforcement duties,” said CVSA President Sgt. John Samis with the Delaware State Police. “Jurisdictions are nearly back to their pre-pandemic capacity with a strengthened concentration on identifying and removing unfit vehicles and drivers from our roadways using federal safety standards and the out-of-service criteria.”
In the U.S., commercial motor vehicle inspections are conducted to check for vehicle and driver compliance with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations, a compendium of rules and regulations applicable to the motor carrier industry. In Canada, inspectors use a combination of the National Safety Code and various provincial/territorial regulations to verify commercial motor vehicle and driver safety compliance. In Mexico, Normas Oficiales Mexicanas are the commercial motor vehicle regulations and standards established by the Mexican government.
During International Roadcheck, CVSA-certified inspectors primarily conduct the North American Standard Level I Inspection, a 37-step procedure that includes two main inspection categories: an examination of driver operating requirements and vehicle mechanical fitness. A third category, hazardous materials/dangerous goods, may also be part of a Level I Inspection. Depending on weather conditions, available resources or personnel, or other factors, inspectors may opt to conduct the Level II Walk-Around Driver/Vehicle Inspection, Level III Driver/Credential/Administrative Inspection or Level V Vehicle-Only Inspection. Roadside inspectors will conduct vehicle and driver inspections following their department’s health and safety protocols and procedures in consideration of the challenges associated with the pandemic.
For the driver portion of an inspection, the inspector will collect and verify the driver’s documents, identify the motor carrier, examine the driver’s license, check record of duty status and review periodic inspection report(s). If applicable, the inspector will check the Medical Examiner’s Certificate, Skill Performance Evaluation Certificate and the driver’s daily vehicle inspection report. Inspectors will also check drivers for seat belt usage, illness, fatigue, and apparent alcohol or drug possession or impairment.
Drivers found to be operating without the proper driver credentials; in possession of or under the influence of drugs or alcohol; operating while ill, fatigued or showing other signs of impairment; or in violation of hours-of-service rules may be placed out of service.
The vehicle portion of an inspection includes checking critical vehicle inspection items such as: brake systems, cargo securement, coupling devices, driveline/driveshaft components, driver’s seat (missing), exhaust systems, frames, fuel systems, lighting devices, steering mechanisms, suspensions, tires, van and open-top trailer bodies, wheels, rims and hubs, and windshield wipers.
If an inspector identifies critical inspection item violations that meet the North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria during a vehicle inspection, the inspector will render the vehicle out of service, which means that vehicle will be restricted from traveling until those violations are corrected.
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