International Road Check Slated for May 5-7: Emphasis on Driver Requirements

May 5-7, 2020 is International Road Check, an event organized by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA). International Road Check is a high-visibility, high-volume three-day implementation program, which emphasizes the importance of the safety of commercial vehicles via roadside inspections. During these 72-hours, inspectors of commercial vehicles in territories all over North America will carry out inspections on commercials motor vehicles and drivers.

Every year, International Road Check puts special emphasis on a type of violations. For this year roadside inspection, the emphasis is on the driver requirements. Research data from the U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s (FMCSA) financial 2019 statistics (Dec. 27, 2019) reveals that there were 944,794 driver violations out of the 3.36 million inspections conducted. Of the 944,794 driver violations, 195,545 were out-of-service conditions.

Sgt. John Samis, President of the CVSA, in speaking with the Delaware State Police says that the US mandated full-compliance via the use of federal electronic device last year has provided the Alliance with the perfect opportunity, of using the International Road Check event this year to reexamine all features of the requirements of roadside inspection for drivers.

During International Road Check, the CVSA-certified inspectors focus mainly on conducting the North American Standard Level I Inspection, which is a 37-step procedure. There are two major inspection classifications: Examination of vehicle mechanical fitness and driver operating requirements. A third category is dangerous goods/ hazardous materials, which may be included in the Level 1 inspection. The inspector may choose to do any of the following: Level 11 Walk-Around Driver/ Vehicle Inspection, Level 111 Driver/Credential/Administrative Inspection or Level V Vehicle-Only Inspection. However, these inspections are dependent on the weather conditions, the existing resources or other factors.

Each inspection procedure begins with the inspector greeting, questioning and preparing the driver. During the inspection, the inspector collects and validate the documents of the driver, identifies the motor hauler, inspects the driver’s license or where applicable, the commercial driver’s license, examines record of the vehicle’s duty status and assess periodic inspection report(s). If relevant, the inspector will examine the following certificates: Medical Examiners and Skill Performance Evaluation including the driver’s day-to-day vehicle inspection report. Inspection also includes checking drivers for seat belt usage, fatigue, illness, and noticeable signs of drug and or alcohol possession or impairment.

The mandatory vehicle inspection includes testing vital vehicle inspection mechanisms like: cargo securement, brake systems, coupling devices, exhaust systems, driveline/driveshaft components, frames, driver’s seat (missing), lighting devices, fuel systems, tires, steering mechanisms, suspensions, van frames, open-top trailer frames, rims, hubs, wheels, and windshield wipers. Further items for motor coaches, passenger vans, buses, or other vehicles that carry passengers including emergency exits, electrical cables and systems in the battery and engine sections, and temporary aisle seating.

If the inspector does not find any critical item violation during a Level 1 or Level 5 inspection, the vehicle will get a CVSA decal. This confirms that the vehicle passed the decal-eligible inspection at the time when the CVSA-certified inspector did the inspection. If violations are present on a necessary rear impact guard during inspection, no CVSA decal will be issued.

During the inspection, the inspector who finds any violation can classify the vehicle as out of service if the North American Standard Out-of- Service Criteria is applicable to the situation. What this means is that unless the vehicle violation is rectified, the vehicle is not road-worthy for use. This Out- of- Service rule can apply to drivers with issues such as related driver credential or other conditions affecting driver like tiredness or fatigue.

In previous years, International Road Check occurred mostly during the first week of June. This year, however, the dates for International Road Check is scheduled for May instead of June because weather conditions in the month of May are more conducive for many territories.

Sgt. Samis states that the Alliance has consistently been deliberate and purposeful in its decision of the announcement of the dates of the International Road Check. Sgt. Samis says that the decision to announce the dates before the event is to provide motor carriers with the opportunity of ensuring their vehicles are properly maintained and to get them prepared for pre and post inspections. The plan, he says is that the Alliance wants every vehicle and driver to pass the inspection completely during this initiative.

Sgt. Samis further stated that the Alliance is aware of the fact that some drivers choose to keep off the roadways for the three days the International Road Check lasts. While the inspection number usually peaks during the International Road Check, there are daily inspections throughout the year. Inspectors will inspect commercial motor vehicles on the eve of International Road Check, the day after three-day period and any day in the year.

International Road Check is the biggest enforcement event that targets commercial motor vehicles worldwide. About 17 buses and trucks are usually inspected every minute during this 72- hour period in the US, Canada, and Mexico. First launched in 1988, the program has conducted 1.6 million roadside inspections to date.

International Road Check is a CVSA procedure with participators like FMCSA, Transport Canada, the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, and the Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes (Ministry of Communications and Transportation) of Mexico.