In one 72-hour period last June, over 73,000 trucks and buses were stopped and inspected at more than 2,500 spots across North America in the United States, Canada and Mexico. As a result of the operation, more than 13,000 trucks and 3,500 truck drivers were pulled out of service for violations.
The operation, known as Roadcheck, is conducted annually by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA). 2014 marked the 27th year for Roadcheck, and while the program has shown improvements and reductions in the number of out of service (OOS) placements required, the sheer numbers of trucks and truckers in violation remains alarming. Considering that only a fraction of the more than two million trucks registered in the country were inspected, it is frightening to think how many unsafe trucks and drivers there may be on the road at any given time.
The biggest issues related to vehicle inspections were brake adjustment violations, brake system issues, and tire/wheel violations. For drivers, nearly half of the violations were for hours of service infractions. This number is alarming given that truckers can already drive 11 hours in a 14-hour day across a six or seven day workweek and still be in compliance with FMCSA regulations. A trucker’s work schedule can already be quite grueling and fatiguing without resorting to hours of service violations.
Equally disturbing is the fact that the number two reason for truck driver out-of-service placements was the discovery of false logbook incidents. While efforts such as Roadcheck are clearly important and seem to be getting results, it appears that much more needs to be done to keep our highways and roads safe for truckers and their big rigs and the cars and drivers who share the road with them.