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September 29, 2015 4:00 PM, EDT

Roadcheck Out-of-Service Rate Declines to Historic Low, CVSA Says

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Out-of-service rates for both trucks and buses and drivers dropped to historic lows for inspections conducted during Roadcheck 2015, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance announced Sept. 29.

The Level I inspection out-of-service rate for both targeted vehicles declined to 21.6% from 23% last year. For drivers, the decrease was to 3.6% from 4% in 2014.

Overall, the vehicle out-of-service rate dropped to 17.5% from 18.7% in 2014, and the overall driver out-of-service rate this year matched the 4.8% rate in 2014.

The Level I inspection out-of-service rate has declined markedly since the event was first held in 1991, when such inspections resulted in 34.8% of vehicles and 5.6% of drivers being placed out of service.   

Almost two of every three, or about 45,000, of the more than 69,000 inspections conducted during CVSA’s annual 72-hour enforcement and safety outreach event from June 2 to June 4 were Level I, the most rigorous checks made by law-enforcement, CVSA said.

“I would say the Level I inspection group is probably the best comparable measure, because Level I includes looking at brake systems that you wouldn’t see in the other inspections,” said William Schaefer, CVSA’s  director of vehicle programs.

However, Schaefer said he could not pinpoint the reason for the low Level 1 out-of-service rates this year. “There are a number of things that come into play that can change the out-of-service rate,” Schaefer told Transport Topics. “It is admittedly not a random selection process for choosing vehicles for inspection.”

In general, the selection process has improved, so it seems logical that the Level I out-of-service rate could be expected to be higher, Schaefer said.

“So I think that carriers are doing a better job at maintaining their vehicles over the past two decades,” he added.

There were 777 seat belt violations issued during this year’s stepped-up enforcement, down from 825 last year, CVSA said.

Carriers undergoing Level I inspections during the event were chosen by inspectors who keyed off such indicators as Compliance, Safety Accountability scores and obvious violations observed as trucks passed through scales or traveled down highways.

This year’s enforcement emphasis was on proper load securement. Inspectors issued 2,439 violations for load securement during Roadcheck 2015.

The most frequent number of load securement violations were for failure to prevent shifting or loss of load; failure to secure such truck equipment as tarps, dunnage, doors, tailgates and spare tires; damaged tie downs that most typically included unacceptable wear on chain or cuts and tears on web straps; insufficient tie-downs; and loose tie-downs.

Load securement enforcement is a normal part of Level I Inspections because securing cargo and equipment are vital to safe operations, CVSA said.

“CVSA’s International Roadcheck is the largest targeted enforcement program on commercial motor vehicles in the world, with nearly 17 trucks or buses inspected, on average, every minute, over three days,” CVSA acting Executive Director Collin Mooney said. “However, we must remember that the work done over that 72-hour period represents only a fraction of what’s accomplished every day by approximately 13,000 CVSA-certified local, state, provincial, territorial and federal inspectors at hundreds of inspection locations across North America.”

Inspectors in the United States and Canada took part in this year’s event.