Some drivers may be sitting out International Roadcheck next week

May 13, 2022

Chuck Robinson

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International Roadcheck returns next week, Tuesday through Thursday, May 17-19. Is there any validity to the road rumor that a significant number of drivers park their trucks during the annual inspection blitz rather than put up with the aggravation?

International Roadcheck is the annual 72-hour high-visibility, high-volume commercial motor vehicle inspection and enforcement initiative put together by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. Commercial motor vehicle inspectors in Canada, Mexico and the U.S. will conduct North American Standard Inspections of commercial motor vehicles and drivers at weigh and inspection stations, on roving patrols, and at temporary inspection sites.

More than 40,000 commercial motor vehicle were inspected during last May’s inspection blitz. Inspections can tie up from 15 minutes to a couple of hours of a driver’s time.

Marty Ellis, who drives the OOIDA tour trailer across the country, said he had heard some drivers planned to take a little “vacation” or do maintenance on their truck during the bothersome, time-consuming inspection blitz.

Data from DAT MembersEdge – a service provided exclusively to OOIDA members at a discounted price – show that some truck drivers apparently do park their trucks during International Roadcheck, though it isn’t as clear as yes or no. It is more “maybe, leaning toward yes.”

It is at least fair to say that capacity tightens during Roadcheck.

First, some notes on the limitations of the data:

  • The DAT MembersEdge data is for a full seven-day period, not just the three days of Roadcheck.
  • The data is for vans, refrigerated and flatbed loads posted to the DAT load board, not actual loads booked.
  • Demand can and did vary greatly from year to year.
  • There were seasonal variations because CVSA has shifted dates from year to year.

Truck posts during Roadcheck week 2021

The number of trucks posted during the week of Roadcheck (May 4-6) on DAT MembersEdge declined 5.9% compared to the previous week. However, the number of trucks posted the week after Roadcheck declined even more, another 15.5% week over week.

Roadcheck week 2020

The number of trucks posted during the week of Roadcheck, which was Sept. 9-11, declined 5.6% compared to the previous week. There was a rebound the next week. The number of trucks posted the week after Roadcheck increased 15.1% week over week.

Roadcheck week 2019

The number of trucks posted during the week of Roadcheck, which was June 4-6, declined only slightly – 0.5% – compared to the previous week. A surge followed the next week. The number of trucks posted the week after Roadcheck increased 14.3% week over week.

Roadcheck week 2018

The number of trucks posted during Roadcheck (June 5-7) week declined 6.1% compared to the previous week. The number of trucks posted the week after Roadcheck increased 6.1% week over week.

Favorable van ratio

In three of the past four years, the van ratio of trucks to posts increased on DAT MembersEdge. A higher load-to-truck ratio typically means better pricing power for the carrier.

National average van load-to-truck ratios compared to the prior week:

  • In 2021, the van ratio increased from 4.4 to 4.9 during Roadcheck week.
  • In 2020, the van ratio decreased from 5.8 to 5.3 during Roadcheck week.
  • In 2019, the van ratio increased from 2.5 to 3.9 during Roadcheck week.
  • In 2018, the van ratio increased from 4.8 to 7.2 during Roadcheck week.

Last year, well over 80% of the vehicles inspected during International Roadcheck passed. CVSA decals were placed on 9,951 power units. CVSA says about 15 trucks or buses are inspected on average every minute during the three-day event.

International Roadcheck 2022 emphasis on wheel ends

Each year, CVSA focuses on a specific aspect of a roadside inspection. This year, there will be an emphasis on wheel ends, according to a news release.

Wheel end components support the heavy loads carried by commercial motor vehicles, maintain stability and control. They are critical for braking. Violations involving wheel end components historically account for about a quarter of the vehicle out-of-service violations discovered during International Roadcheck. It has ranked in the top 10 vehicle violations in past International Roadcheck events.

During International Roadcheck, commercial motor vehicle inspectors examine large trucks and motor coaches and the driver’s documentation and credentials using CVSA’s North American Standard Inspection Program procedures. They are the uniform inspection steps, processes and standards established to ensure consistency in compliance, inspections and enforcement. Using the North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria, also established by CVSA, inspectors identify critical out-of-service violations that if found, require the inspector to restrict the driver or vehicle from travel until those violations or conditions are addressed.

Vehicles that successfully pass a North American Standard Level I or Level V Inspection without any critical vehicle inspection item violations may receive a CVSA decal. In general, a vehicle with a valid CVSA decal will not be re-inspected during the three months while the decal is valid. Instead, inspectors will focus their efforts on vehicles without a valid CVSA decal.

The U.S. Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, Transport Canada, and Mexico’s Ministry of Infrastructure, Communications and Transportation all participate in International Roadcheck.

Looking ahead

Operation Safe Driver Week is scheduled July 10-16 this year, and Brake Safety Week is scheduled Aug. 21-27. LL

 

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Chuck Robinson formerly was senior copy editor for a weekly trade publication serving the fresh produce industry. He has served trade publications, horticultural journals and community newspapers for 25 years.