From Foley’s Carrier Services:

This Year’s Roadcheck will
Focus on Hazardous Materials

The annual ‘Roadcheck’ roadside inspection blitz will be held on June 3, 4 and 5. This year the focus has shifted away from Passenger Carriers and onto those who haul hazardous materials.

Roadcheck, the 72-hour annual safety blitz begins on June 3 and ends on June 5 this year. During those three days, carriers will face an unrestricted flood of roadside inspections and safety checks. Operating in the U.S., Canada and Mexico, safety inspectors will be out in force, at all hours, looking for non-compliant carriers and drivers.

Every year, across the industry, there are competing claims that Roadcheck is either a major event or else it is a whole lot of fuss about nothing. As usual, the truth is probably somewhere in between, but it cannot be denied that, every year, Roadcheck puts a huge spotlight on the motor carrier industry and especially on the importance of staying in compliance with the regulations.

Whether you are affected by it or not, it is hard to deny that Roadcheck is a truly mammoth event. Last year, over the same 72-hour timespan, safety officials managed to give more than 74,000 trucks and busses a Level-1 roadside inspection. (A Level-1 Inspection has the maximum level of detail and can last as long as an hour). That works out to be about 14 vehicles inspected every minute.

Once you look at the results of Roadcheck 2013, you get another picture of why the event is considered to be such a big deal: 4.3% of drivers inspected were placed out-of-service. Even more shockingly, 24.1% of all vehicles inspected were placed out-of-service. Both of those numbers were up from 2012.

Hazard Materials
Often with Roadcheck, and other safety events, inspectors are given certain areas to focus on. For example, they may be looking for issues with brakes or hours-of-service. This year, the focus is on hazardous materials compliance. Carriers hauling or storing hazmats should be prepared for an extra level of scrutiny.

NOTE: That does NOT mean that other carriers will be ignored. Everyone could be inspected.

What to do if Roadcheck Goes Badly for You
With a bit of luck, Roadcheck 2014 will be a non-event. You won’t be placed out-of-service, you won’t be fined. However, for thousands of carriers every year, Roadcheck is a rude awakening. So what do you do if you find yourself out-of-service?

  • Don’t panic. Don’t do anything foolish like try to drive away or abandon your load. If you are stuck at an inspection point, call for help — many vehicles can actually be fixed at the roadside. Once that is done you will be able to leave. Do not threaten or abuse the inspectors or law enforcement. Remember, in this situation, they have the power and your attitude WILL affect your experience.
  • If your vehicle has been placed out-of-service, you need to get it fixed before you get back on the road. Do NOT attempt to drive an out-of-service vehicle. Law enforcement has the ability to target your DOT number — if you think fixing a truck is expensive, wait until you see the fine for driving an out-of-service vehicle.
  • If you have been placed out-of-service because of a missing compliance program such as drug and alcohol testing, call a compliance specialist like Foley Carrier Services as soon as possible. Your replacement program will need to be perfect to survive DOT scrutiny. An outside expert will also be able to work faster than you would by yourself.

Start working on a plan to keep yourself on the road once your vehicle or program is fixed. Do you need to issue training on pre-trip inspections? Do you need to review cargo securement? If you receive a full compliance review (a DOT audit), showing that you have taken steps to improve your ‘culture of compliance’ will help satisfy the auditor of your commitment to safety.