Is your equipment ready for CVSA's annual enforcement blitz?

Roadcheck is the largest targeted enforcement program on commercial vehicles in the world, with approximately 14 trucks or buses being inspected, on average, every minute from Canada to Mexico, during a 72-hour period in early June.

An annual event, this year's Roadcheck, themed is set for June 4 to 6. That is when the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) and its members will be aggressively enforcing compliance with commercial vehicle safety regulations, removing those high-risk carriers from the roads to ensure the public's safety.

The theme for Roadcheck 2103 is Enhancing Truck and Bus Safety Throughout North America, and there will be an additional focus on motorcoach inspections and overall traffic enforcement.

The CVSA is an international not-for-profit organization comprised of local, state, provincial, territorial and federal motor carrier safety officials and industry representatives from the United States, Canada and Mexico. Its mission is to promote commercial motor vehicle safety and security by providing leadership to enforcement, industry and policy makers.

During last year's Roadcheck, 74,072 inspections were conducted. Of the vehicles inspected, 20.9 percent were placed out of service for mechanical problems and 4.6 percent of the drivers inspected were placed out of service.

Since its inception in 1988, the roadside inspections conducted during Roadcheck have numbered more than 1 million, resulting in more than 220 lives saved and 4,045 injuries avoided, says CVSA.

The inspections have also provided for the distribution of countless pieces of educational literature and safety events to educate industry and the general public about the importance of safe commercial vehicle operations and the roadside inspection program.

Roadcheck is one of a series of activities that occur year round whereby CVSA-certified inspectors conduct compliance, enforcement and educational initiatives targeted at various elements of motor carrier, vehicle, driver and cargo safety and security.

What inspectors focus upon

CVSA says officials performing roadside inspections during Roadcheck 2013 will be focusing on nine keys areas. Here are some of the main things inspectors will be examining.

1. Brakes

  • Check for missing, non-functioning, loose, contaminated or cracked parts on the brake system.
  • Check for "S" cam flip-over.
  • Be alert for audible air leaks around brake components and lines.
  • Check that the slack adjusters are the same length (from center of "S" cam to center of clevis pin), and that the air chambers on each axle are the same size.
  • Check brake adjustment.
  • Ensure the air system maintains air pressure between 90 and 100 psi.
  • Measure pushrod travel.
  • Inspect required brake system warning devices, such as ABS malfunction lamps and low air pressure warning devices.
  • Inspect tractor protection system, including the bleedback system on the trailer.

2. Coupling Devices

  • Check the safety devices (chains/wire rope) for sufficient number, missing components, improper repairs and devices that are incapable of secure attachment.
  • On the lower fifth wheel, check for unsecured mounting to the frame or any missing or damaged parts or any visible space between the upper and lower fifth wheel plates. Verify that the locking jaws are around the shank and not the head of the kingpin. Also make sure that the release lever is seated properly and that the safety latch is engaged.
  • Check the upper fifth wheel for any damage to the weight bearing plate and its supports, such as cracks, loose or missing bolts on the trailer.
  • On the sliding fifth wheel, check for proper engagement of locking mechanism (teeth fully engaged on rail). Also check for worn or missing parts and ensure that the position does not allow the tractor frame rails to contact the landing gear during turns.
  • Check for damaged or missing fore and aft stops.

3. Fuel & Exhaust Systems

  • Check fuel tanks for loose mounting, leaks or other conditions; loose or missing caps; and signs of leaking fuel below the tanks.
  • For exhaust systems, check for unsecured mounting; leaks beneath the cab; exhaust system components in contact with electrical wiring or brake lines and hoses; and excessive carbon deposits around seams and clamps.

4. Frame, Van & Open-Top Trailers

  • Inspect for corrosion fatigue, cracks in cross member(s) and the frame, and missing or defective body parts.
  • Look at the condition of the hoses, and check the suspension of air hoses of the vehicle with sliding tandems.
  • On the frame and frame assembly, check for cracks, bends, sagging, loose fasteners or any defect that may lead to the collapse of the frame; and for corrosion, fatigue, cross members cracked or missing, cracks in frame, missing or defective body parts.
  • Inspect all axle(s).
  • Inspect for non-manufactured holes (i.e., rust holes, holes created by rubbing or friction, etc.), and for broken springs in the spring brake housing section of the parking brake.
  • For vans and open-top trailer bodies, look at the upper rail and check roof bows and side posts for buckling, cracks or ineffective fasteners. On the lower rail, check for breaks accompanied by sagging floor, rail or cross members; or broken with loose or missing fasteners at side post adjacent to the crack.

5. Lighting

  • Inspect all required lamps for proper color, operation, mounting and visibility.

6. Securement of Cargo

  • Make sure the load is safe and secure.
  • Check tail board security.
  • Verify end gates are secured in stake pockets.
  • Check both sides of the trailer to ensure cargo is protected from shifting or falling.
  • Verify that rear doors are securely closed.
  • Where load is visible, check for proper blocking and bracing. It may be necessary to examine inside of trailer to assure that large objects are properly secured.
  • Check cargo securement devices for proper number, size and condition.
  • Check tie down anchor points for deformation and cracking.

7. Steering

  • Check the steering lash by first turning the steering wheel in one direction until the tires begin to pivot. Then, place a mark on the steering wheel at a fixed reference point and turn the wheel in the opposite direction until the tires again start to move. Mark the steering wheel at the same fixed reference point and measure the distance between the two marks. The amount of allowable lash varies with the diameter of the steering wheel.

8. Suspension

  • Inspect the suspension for indications of misaligned, shifted, cracked or missing springs; loosened shackles; missing bolts; unsecured spring hangars; and cracked or loose U-bolts.
  • Check any unsecured axle positioning parts and for signs of axle misalignment.
  • On the front axle, check for cracks, welds and obvious misalignment.

9. Tires, Wheels, Rims & Hubs

  • Check tires for proper inflation, cuts and bulges, regrooved tires on steering axle, tread wear and major tread groove depth.
  • Inspect sidewalls for defects, improper repairs, exposed fabric or cord, contact with any part of the vehicle and tire markings excluding it from use on a steering axle.
  • Inspect wheels and rims for cracks, unseated locking rings and broken or missing lugs, studs or clamps.
  • Check for rims that are cracked or bent, have loose of damaged lug nuts and elongated stud holes, have cracks across spokes or in the web area and evidence of slippage in the clamp areas. Check the hubs for lubricant leaks, missing caps or plugs, misalignment and positioning and damaged, worn or missing parts.