Posted May 4, 2023

International Roadcheck 2023: ABS Function & Cargo Securement

By Hannah Dunbar

International Roadcheck is an annual event conducted by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) in collaboration with law enforcement agencies throughout North America. During this annual event, truck drivers and their vehicles are inspected for compliance with safety regulations. Data will be gathered from those three days and shared later this year as a snapshot of the state of commercial motor vehicle and driver safety. This year’s event will take place from May 16-18 with a focus on anti-lock braking systems (ABS) and proper cargo securement for commercial motor vehicles. It is essential that commercial vehicle operators prepare accordingly in order to prevent out-of-service violations.

Anti-Lock Braking System

One area of focus for this year’s International Roadcheck is ABS violations. The anti-lock braking system plays a critical role in reducing collisions by preventing wheels from locking up or skidding, and allowing a driver to maintain control of the vehicle while braking. This automated brake controller applies pressure to the braking system when you press on the foot pedal.

It’s crucial for drivers to conduct thorough pre-trip inspections to ensure that the ABS is functioning properly. ABS lamps that fail to illuminate during the diagnostic check, or lamps that remain illuminated while in transit, indicate an ABS malfunction that must be repaired. These warning lights flash on your dashboard when mechanical issues arise due to abnormal signs from the wheel sensors. Common triggers for ABS errors include: low battery voltage, a broken wheel speed sensor wire, bad wheel bearing, a dirty tone ring, or a bad ABS module.

Cargo Securement

Improper or inadequate cargo securement accounted for 10.6% of the vehicle out-of-service violations during last year’s International Roadcheck, and past International Roadcheck data routinely found cargo securement in the top five of vehicle out-of-service violations. Improper cargo securement poses a serious risk to drivers and other motorists. Inadequate cargo securement may adversely affect the vehicle’s maneuverability, or worse, cause unsecured cargo to fall into the roadway, resulting in traffic hazards and vehicle collisions.

Drivers should verify proper securement and inspect tiedowns during their pre- and post-trip inspections, as well as periodically during their trip, to ensure the cargo remains secure. During these inspections, truckers should be able to verify that their cargo is properly blocked, braced, tied, chained; canvas or tarp is properly secured to prevent tearing, billowing or blocking of mirrors; required signs for oversize loads are properly and safely mounted if necessary; and that required safety seals are in place.


Aside from verifying the functionality of ABS and proper cargo securement, drivers should additionally conduct thorough pre-trip inspections to check all vehicle systems, including steering, suspension, tires, lights, and coupling devices, for any signs of wear or damage. If any defects are found, they should be repaired or replaced before the International Roadcheck.

Another critical step to prepare for International Roadcheck is to review driver credentials and ensure that your commercial driver's license (CDL) is valid and up to date. Drivers should also review their hours-of-service (HOS) records to ensure compliance with federal regulations. During the International Roadcheck, law enforcement officers will be looking for specific documentation, including the driver's CDL, medical examiner's certificate, and vehicle registration. Commercial vehicle operators should ensure that all required documents are on board the vehicle and are up to date. If any violations are found, drivers should correct them before the International Roadcheck.

By conducting pre-trip inspections, reviewing credentials, and ensuring proper documentation, truckers can improve their chances of passing the inspection and avoiding any potential fines or penalties. Remember, safety is the top priority, and taking the necessary steps to prepare for the International Roadcheck is crucial for ensuring the safety of everyone on the road.