Posted May 4, 2022

Preparing for the International Roadcheck

By Grace Tino

Truck drivers are no strangers to safety inspections. Whether they are internal company inspections, or issued by a separate organizational body, safety inspections are a routine part of the trade. The annual International Roadcheck is an important effort among the organizational-issued safety inspections. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) holds this roadcheck in Canada, Mexico, and the US for 72 hours each year with a special focus each time. This year, the CVSA has chosen to focus on wheel ends, and inspections will take place between May 17th through May 19th. How can drivers, fleet managers, and maintenance workers prepare for top results during this year’s inspections?

For newcomers to the industry, the CVSA is a non-profit that strives to bring safety through inspections and enforcements of industry standards in Canada, Mexico, and the US. The CVSA works with motor vehicle safety officials at local, state, provincial, territorial, and federal levels to conduct these inspections on commercial vehicles. The largest of their inspections is the International Roadcheck that occurs every year. In 2021 the CVSA focused on lighting and hours of service.

The organization has chosen to place special focus on wheel ends this year. For more details from the CVSA on this year’s inspections, you can download their flyer on their 2022 Roadcheck here. Past Roadcheck data reveals that one quarter of vehicle out-of-service violations came from wheel end components. Even more surprisingly, wheel end violations have routinely been among the top 10 of vehicle violations. Failures in wheel end components can lead to serious accidents and injuries, leading the CVSA to pinpoint the concern for this year’s round.

Weigh and inspection stations, temporary inspection sites, and roving patrols will be methods of the International Roadcheck. Officials will be keeping their eyes out for wheel-end-specific concerns during their inspections on commercial vehicles. These concerns include proper tire inflation, leaks in the inner wheel seals or tire valves, lubricant leaks, missing caps or plugs, bent or cracked wheel rims, and cracks or unseated locking rings, seals, and clamps. Inspectors will also be checking other routine items such as brake systems, steering, fuel systems, driver credentials, and more.

Vehicles will likely undergo Level I, Level II, or Level V inspections throughout the Roadcheck. Level I inspections include a thorough check on the vehicle including the underneath, requiring inspectors to physically go under the truck; this makes Level I inspections more common at weigh stations where trucks are fully stopped and it is safe to check underneath them. Successful Level I inspections will receive a CVSA decal, so vehicles already with a decal may not need to undergo a full Level I again. Level II inspections commonly occur at road stops, and are more of a walk-around inspection. Level V inspections are typically done at terminals and can also result in a CVSA decal, as it is a full vehicle inspection like that of Level I, only without the driver present. Level VIII inspections are less common and are done electronically without direct interaction with inspection officers.

The International Roadcheck is a key part of vehicle safety, and drivers and other fleet personnel can prepare by conducting their own preliminary inspections before the 17th. Conduct inspection of all standard points of concern such as brakes, lighting, suspension, cargo securement, fuel and exhaust systems, and coupling devices. Place special attention on the wheel end concerns listed above since these will be the primary focus of this year’s check. Additionally, ensure you have all your paperwork with you before inspection. This includes your driver credentials, employment information, medical certificates, motor carrier registration, and past inspection reports. For a more comprehensive list to review for your preliminary inspection, review the CVSA’s official checklist here.

As a driver, vehicle inspections are a huge part of your job. Proper vehicle safety ensures safe travels for you and for other drivers on the road. The CVSA’s International Roadcheck is an extremely important inspection period that, in cases of violations, can result in vehicles being deemed out-of-service. Stay safe on the roads this year and take time to prepare for your inspection this May so everything goes off without a hitch!