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June 4, 2018 2:00 AM, EDT
This Year’s Roadcheck to Focus on HOS Compliance
Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance

This year’s Roadcheck could be one for the books — even though driver log books mostly won’t be allowed.

Hours of service will be the focus during the stepped-up enforcement period June 5-7, a 72-hour event sponsored by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. Unlike past years, inspectors across North America will be checking for electronic logging devices.

With the mandate that nearly all trucks be equipped with ELDs, which went into strict enforcement April 1, inspectors expect less pushback from drivers when it comes to staying within their 11-hour maximum daily driving time.

That could mean fewer HOS violations this year than in past years, said Will Schaefer, director of safety programs for the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, the event’s sponsor.

“It’s difficult to predict, but I would guess that we see a lower rate of HOS violations, simply because we have made it known that hours of service is our focus area,” Schaefer told Transport Topics. “But if violations do decline, we’ve accomplished our goal of bringing attention to HOS compliance and hopefully our event had a hand in that improvement.”

Schaefer added, “Part of the reason behind the ELD rule is that hours-of-service rules haven’t been followed as well as we think they could be. Compliance is important.”

In other words, this year CVSA is hoping a smaller number of HOS cheaters will be stopped dead in their tracks — cited for a violation, immediately placed out of service for 10 hours, and maybe even assessed a sizable financial penalty.

“Thirty-two percent of drivers who were placed out of service during last year’s three-day International Roadcheck were removed from our roadways due to violations related to hours-of-service regulations,” Christopher Turner, CVSA president and captain of the Kansas Highway Patrol, said in a statement. “It’s definitely an area we need to call attention to this year.”

During Roadcheck, inspectors primarily will conduct the North American Standard Level I Inspection, a 37-step procedure that includes an examination of both driver operating requirements and vehicle mechanical fitness, CVSA said.

Vehicle Inspection List

✅ Brake Systems
✅ Cargo Securement
✅ Coupling Devices
✅ Driveline Components
✅ Driveshaft Components
✅ Exhaust Systems
✅ Frames
✅ Fuel Systems
✅ Lighting Devices
✅ Steering Mechanisms
✅ Suspensions
✅ Tires
✅ Van Trailer Bodies
✅ Open-Top Trailer Bodies
✅ Wheels
✅ Rims and Hubs
✅ Windshield Wipers

Last year, nearly one of every four trucks that received Level I inspections during Roadcheck were taken out of service, CVSA said. About 23% of the nearly 41,000 Level I commercial vehicle inspections were placed out of service, while 4.2% of drivers that received the inspections were placed out of service.

The top three driver-related violations in Roadcheck 2017 were for hours of service (32.3% of driver out-of-service violations), wrong class license (14.9%) and false logbook (11.3%).

In 2016, only 3.4% of the drivers were found to be in violation with hours-of-service and false log entries, representing 46.8% and 16.4% of violations, respectively. That driver figure was 3.6% in 2015 and 4% in 2014.

By comparison, the out-of-service rate in 2016 for all 62,796 vehicles inspected was 17.8%, compared with 17.5% in 2015 and 18.7% in 2014.

“Although the electronic logging device rule that went into effect on Dec. 18, 2017, does not change any of the underlying hours-of-service rules or exceptions, the ELD mandate placed a spotlight on hours-of-service compliance,” Turner said. “We thought this year would be a perfect opportunity to focus on the importance of the hours-of-service regulations.”