2021 DOT Inspection Readiness
The annual International Roadcheck conducted by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) is a high-visibility reminder of the importance of commercial motor vehicle safety. The 2021 International Roadcheck is scheduled for May 4-6, 2021.
Last year’s blitz showed that the top violations putting drivers out of service were Hours-of-Service (HOS) violations, accounting for 34.7% of all driver out-of-service conditions.
DOT inspection focus for 2021 International Roadcheck
Primarily, the International Roadcheck conducts the North American Standard (NAS) Level I Inspection, which includes 37 steps in two main inspection categories:
- driver operating requirements
- vehicle mechanical fitness
- Note: hazardous materials/dangerous goods are sometimes part of a Level I inspection
Depending on other factors, an inspector could conduct a:
- Level II inspection (walk-around driver/vehicle)
- Level III inspection (driver/credential/administrative) and/or
- Level IV inspection (vehicle-only)
Each year, there is also a special category focus. This year’s CVSA Roadcheck focus is on lights and hours-of-service (HOS) violations.
To keep fatigued drivers off the road, hour-of-service regulations limit how long and when a commercial motor vehicle (CMV) driver can drive and regulates the minimum amount of time drivers must rest between driving shifts.
Lighting devices include headlamps, tail lamps, clearance lamps, identification lamps, license plate and side marker lamps, stop lamps, turn signals and lamps on projecting loads.
All required lighting devices are inspected for proper color, operation, mounting and visibility. In addition, the condition and location of reflectors and retroreflective sheeting are also inspected.
The top vehicle violation in the U.S. in fiscal 2020 was an inoperable required lamp, accounting for 12.2% of all vehicle violations and 4.4% of all out-of-service vehicle violations. Moreover, taking into account all possible lighting-related violations issued in fiscal 2020, one in four vehicles chosen for inspection (25.3%) were issued a lighting-related violation.
Slightly more than one in seven out-of-service violations (16.4%) in the U.S. were lighting related. These violations can be largely avoided by checking the condition and location of reflectors and retroreflective sheeting, and by checking all required lamps/turn signals mentioned above and ensuring they are operative, properly mounted and not obscured in any way.
What to expect during the CVSA International Roadcheck
At a minimum, drivers should anticipate the following procedures during a roadside DOT inspection:
- inspector greeting, interview, driver preparation
- collection/verification of driver documents
- motor carrier ID
- license examination
- records check (duty status and periodic inspection reports)
- certification check (if needed)
- Medical Examiner’s Certificate
- Skill Performance Evaluation Certification, and
- daily vehicle inspection report
- other inspections such as driver seat belt usage, illness, fatigue, impairments due to substance use
A roadside DOT inspection would include critical components such as:
- brake systems
- cargo securement
- coupling devices
- driveline/driveshaft components
- driver’s seat (missing)
- exhaust systems
- fuel systems
- lighting devices
- steering mechanisms
- suspension system
- van and open-top trailer bodies
- wheels, rims, and hubs
- windshield wipers
- Buses, motor coaches, passenger vans or other passenger-carrying vehicles: emergency exits, electrical cables and systems in engine and battery compartments, and temporary and aisle seating
Although this 3-day event spanning from Canada to Mexico intensifies the frequency of inspections, it’s crucial to remember that DOT inspections happen every day of the year.
The FMCSA 2019 data reports 3.36 million inspections last year, with only 67,072 (or, about 2%) happening during the International Roadcheck. The annual data show 944,794 driver violations, with just over 20% (195,545) being for out-of-service conditions.
Obeying safety standards and being prepared for inspection at any time of the year is a vital aspect of any driver’s protocol.
What are CVSA Standards for critical violations?
The basis for violations comes from the CVSA North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria.
There are eight different levels of inspection the CVSA follows. However, truck inspections in the 2019 Roadcheck were only subjected to the North American Standard (NAS) Level I, II and III Inspections.
We can perform a mock audit for you
You can stay ahead of the FMCSA by ensuring your drivers are in compliance before sending them out on the road. We offer many services, but one specifically—DOT Mock Audits—help trucking companies operate with the confidence that they will pass any audits or inspections the FMCSA throws at them.
Basically, in a DOT Mock Audit, we send out a specialist that will conduct an audit in the exact same way a DOT officer would. This can help keep you prepared for any surprise roadside inspection or any future actual DOT audits, and you can be sure that they will happen.