If you happen to see blue lights coming up behind your rig June 7-9, don’t bother checking your speedometer; chances are high that you’re not being pulled over for speeding.
International Roadcheck 2016, an annual event involving both local and state or provincial motor carrier safety officials in the United States, Canada and Mexico is scheduled this year for those dates. And during that time an estimated 10,000 officers will be inspecting an average of 17 trucks or buses every minute. Though the event is an around-the-clock affair, more officers will be on duty during the daylight and evening, so the pace of inspections-per-minute actually will be even higher during those hours.
Since the program began in 1988, officers have performed more than 1.4 million truck and bus roadside inspections as part of the annual 72-hour safety event, so it’s a good idea for drivers, owners and fleet operators to get their rigs in top shape before that round of intensive inspections activity begins. Those who use advanced tracking technology to stay on top of their trucks’ operating performance and maintenance records have a much better chance of passing any roadside inspections with ease. They also likely will have to spend less money getting their vehicles repaired and brought up to proper operating standards prior to the Roadcheck period and/or on fines for failing to keep their trucks in proper running shape.
Each year motor carrier safety officials in all three countries agree on certain categories of violations to which they will pay special attention. This year they’ll be focusing most intently on tire safety. That means they’ll be checking tread depth, tire pressure and overall tire condition. That will include looking for sidewall cuts or bulges that are tell-tale signs of a blowout in the near future. They’ll also be checking for objects lodged between dual sets of tires, so it will be an especially good idea for drivers to inspect their dual axel tires every time they stop to make sure they haven’t picked up some debris that could lead to a hefty fine.
Roadcheck inspectors also will be checking out the drivers as well as their rigs. Drivers typically are required to provide inspectors their licenses, endorsements, medical cards and hours-of-service. They’ll also likely be monitored for seat belt usage before being pulled over. And, they can be required to submit to testing for alcohol and drug use.
In addition to this year’s special emphasis on tire safety, Roadcheck inspections typically follow the North American Standard Level I inspection routine, a 37-step process that is the most thorough road inspection protocol in all three nations. In addition to review of driver documents and condition, the Level I inspection involved checking braking systems, cargo restraint systems, truck exhaust systems, coupling devices, lights, fuel systems, steering mechanisms, driveshafts, suspension systems, windshield wipers, trailer bodies’ structural integrity, and wheel assemblies. For buses the inspections also cover emergency exits.
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