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The 2024 International Roadcheck, a North American inspection blitz hosted by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), is set for May 14 - 16.

Established in 1988, the initiative is designed to showcase the commitment to safety held by inspectors, commercial drivers and carriers alike via a 72-hour, high-velocity, high-visibility inspection cycle. The annual event has resulted in nearly two million roadside inspections since its start, good for an average of nearly 15 vehicles inspected per minute across the U.S., Mexico and Canada.  

These inspections help ensure the safety of pedestrians, drivers and shipments by checking for vehicle maintenance and driver compliance practices. The goal is to weed out which vehicles and drivers aren’t fit to be on the road in order to prevent potential accidents and other problems. Below, we’ll go over what drivers can expect during the inspection process and talk about areas of focus for the 2024 inspection blitz.

CSVA Inspections: The Basics

Inspections can be held at weigh stations, border checkpoints, bus terminals, carrier terminals or during any roadside traffic stop. During the inspection blitz, the CVSA is watching for four main violation categories:

  • Driver violations
  • Out-of-service drivers
  • Vehicle defects
  • Out-of-service vehicles

There are eight levels of inspection, but during the International Roadcheck, inspectors commonly focus on Levels One and Two.

Level One: North American Standard Inspection

The Level One inspection is a 37-step overview of both the driver and the vehicle, including paperwork (licensure, inspection reports, hours of service, etc.), alcohol and drug use, brake systems, lighting, steering and more.

Level Two: Walk-Around Driver/Vehicle Inspection

The Level Two inspection is a 31-step review including most of the Level One items but does not require the inspector to get underneath the vehicle.

How to Prepare for CVSA Inspections

If you’re worried about yourself or your fleet during the upcoming inspection blitz, there are a few things you can do to prepare.

1. Perform pre-trip inspections before every trip, and be sure to check:

  • Brakes and axles
  • Tractor protection system
  • Brake system warning devices
  • Air loss rate
  • Steering wheel lash
  • Fifth wheel movement

2. Make sure you have all the required tools on board and that they’re in working order. Missing or broken fire extinguishers account for a large number of violations each year, so every item counts!

3. Audit your paperwork before each trip to ensure you have all the required documentation and that it is legible. Documents can include:

  • Permits (if applicable)
  • Periodic inspection report
  • Daily vehicle inspection report (if applicable)
  • Record of duty status

Not everyone will receive an inspection, but if you successfully pass a Level One, you’ll receive a CVSA decal sticker to display, which exempts the vehicle from another Level One inspection for three months.

2024 Inspection Focus

Alcohol and Controlled Substances

Every year, the CSVA places a special emphasis on a category of violations based on recent trends within the industry. This year there are two areas of emphasis, with one being controlled substance and alcohol possession and use. Of course, drugs and alcohol have long been a major concern for companies employing DOT-regulated drivers. However, the issue is only becoming more prevalent, especially as more states legalize the recreational use of cannabis.  

Data from a report released in December shows that nearly 160,000 drivers are listed as “prohibited” in the FMCSA Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse. This number is a 30 percent increase from just the previous year. The CSVA is hoping that making this violation an area of focus will remind motor carriers to develop and enforce stricter internal policies. 

Not only is the organization looking to decrease the use of alcohol and controlled substances, but they’re also advising companies to ensure that their drivers don’t have prohibited status. Here’s a list of what to expect during the inspection:

  • Driver check for signs of alcohol or controlled substance use and/or impairment
  • Examination of the cab or trailer for alcohol or controlled substances
  • DACH query for all U.S.-based inspections 

Tractor Protection Systems

The other primary area of focus for the CSVA this year will be vehicles’ tractor protection systems, specifically the tractor protection valve, tractor supply valve and the anti-bleed black valve. The CSVA noted that these and many other parts are critically important to ensuring safety, but that they often go overlooked during daily and roadside inspections. For reference,  this inspection is used to simulate a trailer breakaway event and test to see if the towing vehicle’s protection system can operate properly under this condition. 

One way drivers can spot if an air-brake-equipped trailer does have a defective system: check if the unit has air escaping from the supply/emergency and the service/control gladhand couplings. Air will immediately escape from the supply/emergency gladhand line but should stop very soon after. If the valve doesn’t close once the gauge pressure drops to 20 psi, either in the primary or secondary system, the vehicle will receive an out-of-service (OOS) violation. 

During DOT blitz week, you can expect your inspector to have you get out of the vehicle and perform this test yourself. The inspector will have you perform all of the following steps:

  • Release all brakes by pressing dash valves
  • Carefully remove all the gladhands and allow air to escape
  • Ensure air stops leaking from the supply line with at least 20 psi remaining.
  • Listen and/or feel for any leaking air at the gladhand couplers on the trailer
  • Request a full-service brake application
  • Listen and/or feel for leaks from both air lines

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