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September 12, 2018 4:45 PM, EDT

2018 Roadcheck Out-of-Service Rate Declines From Last Year

Inspectors checking a truck A Maryland officer inspects a flatbed truck at a previous CVSA Road Check event. (Eric Miller/Transport Topics)

More than one of every five trucks that received comprehensive Level I inspections during the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s International Roadcheck this summer were taken out of service, CVSA reported on Sept. 12.

CVSA said that the out-of-service rate for the 45,400 Level I inspections was 21.6%, a decrease from last year’s 23% rate.

Likewise the rate of drivers placed out of service for all Level I, II and III inspections was 3.9%, a decline from last year’s rate of 4.7%.

CVSA’s annual three-day safety blitz was conducted June 5-7. The focus was on hours-of-service compliance since the inspections were conducted only two months after electronic logging device out-of-service enforcement began.

Officer inspecting a truck

A Maryland state trooper inspects a truck's carriage at the 2016 event. (CVSA)

Despite the improving out-of-service rate, CVSA Executive Director Collin Mooney said the numbers may not actually indicate that the nation’s highways are any safer this year than last year.

“The one important thing to note is that it is a percentage based on the vehicles that we had selected for inspection,” Mooney told Transport Topics. “It’s not necessarily a percentage of the overall condition of the industry.”

Some in the industry want to see the rate of out-of-service violations climb because it would mean inspectors have chosen the industry’s bad actors and selected the right location to set up their enforcement blitz, Mooney said.

“The more we leverage technology to be more efficient in our roadside inspection program, the more we should be selecting the worst of the worst,” Mooney added.

Of the total 67,502 combined roadside Level I, II and III inspections on large trucks and buses, 11,897 vehicles had out-of-service conditions and 2,664 drivers had out-of-service conditions. Out of the 67,502 vehicles inspected, 66,766 were large trucks.

CVSA said the top vehicle out-of-service conditions were for brake systems (4,536), tires and wheels (3,058) and brake adjustment (2,612). The top driver out-of-service conditions were for hours of service (1,326), wrong class license (648) and false record of duty status (308).

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Hours-of-service violations represented 43.7% of all driver out-of-service conditions. However, of the total number of inspections conducted during International Roadcheck, fewer than 2% of drivers were placed out of service for hours-of-service violations.

During an inspection, if an inspector identifies critical inspection items on a vehicle with specific violations, he or she will render the vehicle out of service, which means mechanical defects must be corrected in order for the vehicle to be permitted to proceed. A driver found to be in violation of the conditions in the out-of-service criteria will be placed out of service until the condition can be rectified, CVSA said.

A total of 60,321 inspections were conduced in the United States while 7,181 were done in Canada. There were 736 motorcoaches inspected.

During the 31st annual event, CVSA-certified inspectors conducted large-scale, high-visibility roadside inspections of commercial trucks and buses and their drivers. These inspections occurred at inspection sites, weigh stations and roving patrol locations along roadways throughout the 72-hour enforcement initiative.

The event is sponsored by CVSA, North America’s leading commercial motor vehicle safety enforcement organization, with participation by FMCSA, the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators and Mexico’s Secretariat of Communications and Transportation, officials said.