Roadcheck Inspection Blitz Set for June 4-6
Every year, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) – a nonprofit group with over 13,000 safety officials – runs what they call a “roadcheck inspection blitz” designed for commercial vehicles. During this blitz, they check roughly 17 commercial vehicles per minute nationwide. So to say that these inspections aren’t a big deal is critically false.
Each year the CVSA focuses on specific systems within commercial vehicles. This year, their focus is on steering and suspension systems. But that doesn’t mean they’ll skimp – each inspection will be a level one inspection, which is the most thorough inspection CVSA inspectors can do. They will be checking most critical systems of each commercial vehicle as well as ensuring that drivers are in compliance with laws. This includes checking logs and licenses, brakes, how cargo is secured, lights, tires, and more.
Why the roadcheck inspection blitz is important
Simply put, these inspections are important because they help keep commercial trucks in compliance with safety laws. Safety on the road is paramount, especially when it comes to big rig trucks. While we focus on auto transport and its related commercial haulers, make no mistake – every commercial local and long-haul truck will be inspected.
But it’s important for safety reasons. As mentioned, this year, the inspections will focus on suspension and steering. A truck that has bad suspension or steering could lose control in extreme situations, such as heavy braking. Losing control of a commercial truck is scary considering their size and weight. So making sure that these trucks are up-to-snuff and able to maintain stability and control no matter the conditions is important.
Safety is also the reason why the inspections will be level one inspections focusing on more than just steering and suspension. Last year, over 12,000 trucks were sidelined for one kind of violation or another. The vast majority were taken off the road for issues with brakes, tires, or brake adjustments.
What this means for the auto transport industry
Like any other commercial truck, this year’s roadcheck inspection blitz will include auto carriers. But unlike a lot of other industries, which operate big fleets with dozens or even hundreds of trucks, most auto transporters are owner-operators. There are certainly some fleets in the industry, but not as many as in, say, refrigerated trucking industries.
And it’s no surprise that auto shippers tend to get dinged by inspectors more often because of the nature of the industry. So not a lot of carriers really want to go through these inspections in the first place.
As a result, there are plenty of carriers that plan to not move cars for a few days. Dispatches will go down, and prices will likely increase because of the added inspections. These inspections take time, and for a car hauler time is money.
How American Auto Shipping is handling the blitz
We’re already taking steps to make sure that vehicles customers book with us will still move. But make no mistake – low prices will not get cars moved during early June. If you’re currently shopping around for prices, be even more careful than usual about lower prices.
We’re talking to carriers about what we can expect come blitz time. They’ve said that not only will they be taking less freight, but it will likely take longer to get from pickup to delivery.
Most trucks will only need to be inspected once. While there will be many an inspection station along most major highways, trucks that pass inspection will get a decal saying they’ve been inspected and passed. Those that don’t pass inspection will not be on the road until they do.
This, of course, brings up another problem: what if a carrier gets sidelined while it’s packed with cars?
That’s a tricky question to answer. There’s a few different ways carriers handle this, and it depends on why they’re sidelined. If it’s a minor issue that can be fixed in a few hours, they’re only off the road a few hours. If it’s something more, they may be off the road longer. These roadcheck inspection blitzes have been going on every year for quite some time. So most of the time, carriers aren’t off the road long.
But just the same, if it’s a major issue they’re sidelined for, their freight – the cars they’re hauling – may need to be moved to a different truck. This is rare, of course. Most delays shouldn’t sideline a carrier for more than 24-48 hours.