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International Roadcheck Reveals Room for Improvement in Carrier Safety

09/28/2023 23:14

The International Roadcheck is an annual event that sets out to improve carrier safety and promote awareness of commercial vehicle enforcement. This initiative, organized by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), involves a comprehensive inspection blitz over a 72-hour period.

During this time, law enforcement agencies across North America conduct inspections on large trucks and buses to ensure compliance with safety regulations.

The primary purpose of the International Roadcheck is to reduce road accidents and fatalities caused by commercial motor vehicles that fail to meet safety standards. Through these intensive inspections, authorities aim to identify and address potential issues such as brake system deficiencies, tire problems, or driver violations like hours-of-service violations or driving with suspended licenses. By conducting roadside checks on a large scale, this event serves as a strong deterrent for carriers who may otherwise neglect safety measures.

However, the International Roadcheck also has broader implications for the transportation industry. The data gathered during this event offers invaluable insights into areas where carriers can improve their overall safety performance. This information helps regulators focus their efforts on implementing targeted training programs and initiatives aimed at reducing specific types of violations or shortcomings identified during the inspection blitz. Furthermore, it provides an opportunity for carriers themselves to evaluate their operations and take proactive steps toward enhancing their safety protocols.

In this blog post, let's look at the main objective of International Roadcheck to ensure carrier compliance with safety regulations.

Safety Management Cycle can help carriers get to the root of issues

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has recently released the findings of their 2023 International Roadcheck. According to the statistics, there has been little change since the previous year, indicating a need for improvement in the overall safety and compliance of motor carriers.

The CVSA's three-day inspection initiative, which took place from May 16-18 across North America, involved the thorough examination of various levels of inspections, including level I, II, and III. In total, 59,429 inspections were carried out, with the majority taking place in the United States.

In the United States, approximately one in every five inspections, or just over 19%, resulted in at least one out-of-service (OOS) violation for vehicles. Although this reflects a 4% improvement from the previous year, the number of driver OOS violations remained unchanged at 6% of total violations. When a vehicle or driver receives an OOS violation, they are restricted from service for a specific period or until the issue is resolved. These violations not only waste fleets' valuable time, but also result in a higher severity score that negatively impacts their Compliance, Safety, and Accountability (CSA) profiles.

Enhancing safety on the roads is an ongoing task that requires a concerted effort from all stakeholders. The latest statistics reveal that brake systems, tires, defective service brakes, cargo securement, and lights were among the top five categories of out-of-service (OOS) violations for vehicles this year. On the other hand, driver-related OOS violations were primarily related to hours of service, false logs, other, canceled/revoked licenses, and no medical card.

To make a meaningful impact on road safety, it is imperative that individual companies take ownership of their roadside inspection results. By focusing on continuous improvement, businesses can identify areas that require attention and take proactive measures to address any deficiencies. This approach can help reduce the incidence of OOS violations and contribute to the overall safety of our roads.

Avoid the fallout of poor inspections

Roadside inspections can have lasting effects even after they have ended. If a carrier receives violations during an inspection, those violations will remain on their CSA profile for up to two years. This profile is used by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to prioritize carriers for interventions, including full onsite audits.

If enough violations are found during a compliance review, the carrier's safety rating may be publicly demoted. It is important for carriers to understand that these audits and reviews are not random, but are conducted based on their CSA scores.

Clean inspections can help to reduce a carrier's CSA score, which ultimately benefits both the carrier and their drivers. 

To reduce the likelihood of an audit, it is imperative to steer clear of unfavorable roadside inspections. However, in the event of such inspections, they can serve as valuable learning experiences. By identifying common violations within the industry and their own organization, carriers can take proactive measures to address these issues. It is vital to focus on these areas and take the necessary actions to prevent future incidents, which could result in out-of-service events and poor CSA scores, thus increasing risk and potential fallout.

It is fortunate that carriers can easily address the most prevalent violations found during roadside inspections.

According to Tom Bray, senior industry business adviser, some experts speculate that the OOS (Out-of-Service) numbers have hit a natural plateau. However, Bray remains optimistic and believes that there is still room for improvement.

Fortunately, carriers and drivers can take simple corrective actions to reduce common violations during roadside inspections. A chart has been provided below to illustrate these corrective measures.

Roadside inspections are a crucial aspect of maintaining safety and compliance in the transportation industry. Drivers play a pivotal role in these inspections as they are the ones who interact with officers. It is imperative that drivers comprehend what officers are seeking and what is anticipated of them during these inspections.

However, it is not just the drivers who bear the responsibility of a successful or unsuccessful inspection. All departments within a company, including management, safety and administration, maintenance, and drivers, must work together to prepare for these inspections. The training department, human resources, and dispatch are all encompassed under the administration department and must ensure that drivers have the necessary knowledge and resources to pass these inspections.

Motor carriers must also play their part in ensuring that their equipment is in good condition and that their drivers are adequately trained. Maintenance departments must conduct regular checks on the vehicles to ensure that they are in compliance with regulations. Ultimately, the success or failure of an inspection depends on the collective efforts of all parties involved. It is

Get to the root of the issue with the Safety Management Cycle

Correcting the root cause of violations is only the first step toward addressing immediate problems. In many cases, violations serve as indicators of larger underlying issues. If carriers want to implement long-term changes, they must take a step back to identify what is causing the violation in the first place.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s Safety Management Cycle (SMC) provides a useful tool for understanding the broader safety operations of motor carriers, and to diagnose why violations or issues are occurring. Enforcement staff utilize this framework during Department of Transportation audits, and motor carriers can also use it to make improvements after a poor roadside inspection.

According to safety expert Malchow, violations may suggest that safety management controls are insufficient within an organization. By using the Safety Management Cycle, carriers can comprehensively identify and strengthen weak areas by addressing the systems, policies, programs, practices, and procedures used to ensure compliance. This approach provides a comprehensive framework for implementing effective solutions and achieving long-term safety improvements.

The Safety Management Cycle consists of the following steps:

  • Policies and procedures are the backbone of a motor carrier's operations. They provide clear guidelines on how the carrier and its employees should conduct themselves, serving as a roadmap towards safety and compliance.

  • Roles and responsibilities define the individual tasks that each employee is expected to undertake in order to uphold these policies and procedures. This system of allocation ensures that every employee takes ownership of their duties and plays a crucial role in the success of the organization. By implementing this framework, motor carriers can ensure that they operate at the highest level of efficiency, safety, and compliance.

  • The process of driver qualification and hiring is an essential component in ensuring the smooth functioning of a motor carrier. It involves the recruitment and screening of prospective candidates who can meet the expectations and responsibilities of the job. Maintaining strict controls on driver qualification files is crucial to ensure thorough vetting of candidates and compliance with regulations.

  • Another important aspect of the motor carrier industry is training and communication. This function helps to establish clear policies, procedures, and roles for all employees. Effective training and communication are key to ensuring that everyone possesses the necessary skills and knowledge to carry out their assigned tasks. This investment in the team can lead to long-term payoffs and the creation of a cohesive and successful organization.

  • Effective monitoring and tracking are essential for companies to keep track of their employees' performance. By implementing a reliable system, companies can ensure that their employees are complying with the policies and procedures set forth by the organization, while also executing their roles and responsibilities in a safe and efficient manner. The monitoring aspect of this process involves closely examining the performance of the operation, while tracking refers to the collection and assessment of data.

  • To take meaningful action, the motor carrier must be able to identify areas where improvement is needed and provide the necessary support for employees to make corrections. This could involve ongoing training or positive reinforcement to encourage better performance and ensure that the organization maintains a high standard of safety. By taking proactive measures to address shortcomings and promote positive behavior, motor carriers can significantly enhance their overall safety performance and cultivate a culture of excellence and accountability.

Steps that carriers can take to improve their safety performance

Improving safety performance is crucial for carriers, as recent data from the International Roadcheck indicates room for improvement in this area. To enhance their safety standards, carriers can take several steps. First and foremost, investing in comprehensive driver training programs is essential. This will not only ensure that drivers have a thorough understanding of safety procedures but also help them develop critical skills such as defensive driving and effective communication with other road users.

In addition to driver training, carriers can implement advanced technology solutions to improve their safety performance. For instance, installing electronic logging devices (ELDs) can help track hours of service compliance more accurately and prevent fatigue-related incidents. Furthermore, adopting telematics systems can provide real-time data on vehicle location, speed, and maintenance needs, enabling swift action to address any potential risks or issues.

Moreover, fostering a culture of safety within the organization is equally important. Carriers should encourage open communication channels where employees feel comfortable reporting concerns or near misses without fear of reprisal. Regular safety meetings and updates can keep everyone informed about new regulations or best practices while fostering a sense of responsibility toward maintaining high safety standards.

By taking these proactive steps towards improving their safety performance, carriers are not only safeguarding the lives of their drivers but also contributing to overall road safety. Embracing driver training programs, incorporating advanced technology solutions like ELDs and telematics systems, along with creating a culture that prioritizes safety will ultimately lead to fewer accidents and violations- benefiting both the carrier's reputation and

Conclusion: Importance of prioritizing carrier safety in the Trucking Industry

In conclusion, the International Roadcheck highlights the critical importance of prioritizing carrier safety in the transportation industry. The findings from this annual event serve as a wake-up call for carriers and drivers alike to reevaluate their practices and take proactive measures to ensure the well-being of all road users.

By emphasizing carrier safety, not only do we protect our employees but also contribute to overall road safety. Implementing robust safety protocols can minimize accidents, reduce insurance costs, and increase a company's reputation. It is crucial that carriers prioritize regular maintenance checks, advanced training programs, and strict adherence to regulatory requirements.

Failure to prioritize carrier safety can have severe consequences. From damaging financial repercussions resulting from lawsuits and fines to irreversible harm or loss of life caused by accidents, ignoring safety measures should not be an option. As professionals in the transportation industry, we have a responsibility towards ourselves and others on the road.

As carriers work towards improving their overall safety standards, it is essential for regulatory bodies to continue enforcing strict guidelines and conducting regular inspections like the International Roadcheck. Together with cooperation from drivers and support from companies along with technological advancements in vehicle monitoring systems or driver assistance tools – we can pave the way toward a safer future on our roads.

Carrier safety must remain at the forefront of the transportation industry. Let us strive for continuous improvement while keeping in mind that each step taken towards prioritizing carrier safety has far-reaching effects beyond individual companies – impacting entire communities as well.

If you want to stay updated with a wide range of trends, actionable insights, and innovative solutions in the trucking, freight, and logistics industry, stay connected to us.

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