The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) has set this year’s International Roadcheck for the dates of May 4 – 6. During this three-day period, law enforcement officers in Canada, Mexico, and the U.S. will conduct inspections on commercial motor vehicles and drivers. The purpose of these roadchecks is to remind carriers and drivers of proper vehicle maintenance and driver safety. Here’s what you can expect and how you can prepare for a roadside inspection…

Vehicle Inspection List

Law enforcement will do a thorough inspection of your vehicle in accordance with the North American Standard Inspection Program. As stated by the CVSA, inspectors will ensure compliance with these items:

  • Brake systems
  • Cargo securement
  • Coupling devices
  • Driveline/Driveshaft components
  • Driver’s seat
  • Exhaust systems
  • Frames
  • Fuel systems
  • Lighting devices
  • Steering mechanisms
  • Suspensions
  • Tires
  • Van and open-top trailer bodies
  • Wheels
  • Rims
  • Hubs
  • Windshield wipers

The inspection of passenger-carrying vehicles will also include a check of emergency exits, electrical cables and systems in the engine and battery compartments, and seating. 

If any of these items are violated, the vehicle will be placed out-of-service until the violations have been corrected. 

Those that pass the inspection will receive a CVSA decal and will not be re-inspected during the three-month period of it being issued. 


Driver Operating Requirements

In addition to inspecting the vehicle’s maintenance, officers will also be checking the driver’s credentials and safety. Here’s what you can expect to be checked:

  • Driver’s operating credentials
  • Hours of service documentation
  • Seat belt usage
  • Alcohol and/or drug impairment

If any of these items are violated, the driver will be placed out-of-service.


Emphasis on Hours of Service and Lighting

Each year the CVSA asks inspectors to capture and report data focusing on a certain category of violations. This year, inspectors will emphasize hours of service as a driver operating requirement and lighting in regards to vehicle mechanical fitness. Both of these checkpoints were the top violations in their respective categories last year. During the 2020 International Roadcheck, hours of service was the top driver violation, which accounted for 34.7% of out-of-service violations. And, “lamps inoperable” was the number one vehicle violation in fiscal 2020 as reported by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, which accounted for 12.2% of all vehicle violations.


How to Prepare

As a way to prepare for this year’s roadcheck, it’s crucial that drivers understand the hours of service regulations and how to be in compliance with them. In 2016, the FMCSA put the electronic logging device mandate into effect. The purpose of these devices is to automatically record drive time and hours of service. Drivers should know how to use their devices and be prepared to show reports to law enforcement at your roadcheck. 

Additionally, to minimize the chances of “lamps inoperable”, you should double-check all of your lighting devices, reflectors, and electrical equipment. These violations could refer to anything from a broken reflector to a burnt-out highlight or brake light. Lighting violations are clear and easy targets to look for when stopping a vehicle for an inspection. 

Overall, the best way to prepare for and to pass the International Roadcheck Inspection is to:

  • Have proper documentation and records (ELD, CDL, medical certificate, proof of periodic inspection, and all load-related paperwork) 
  • Know how to use your ELD
  • Do your pre and post trip inspections
  • Be patient, professional, and respectful 


Closing Thoughts

While a roadside inspection may seem inconvenient to drivers, it’s important to remind yourself that the main goal of this initiative is to keep our roads safe. It serves as a great opportunity to educate and reiterate the importance of safe commercial vehicle operations. To learn more about this year’s upcoming International Roadcheck, please visit CVSA’s website.