This week marked the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) 30th annual International Roadcheck, a three-day event of continuous commercial vehicle inspections across North America, along with other compliance, enforcement and educational initiatives to support motor carrier, vehicle and driver safety. CVSA-certified commercial motor vehicle inspectors will check 15 trucks or buses nearly every minute – and the industry will be watching to see if violations continue to decrease, as they have in past years.
Since its inception in 1988, more than 1.4 million roadside inspections have been conducted. In 2016, 62,796 inspections were conducted, of which 42,236 were Level I inspections, the most comprehensive and common vehicle inspection level. Within the Level I inspections:
- 21.5% of vehicles and 3.4% of drivers were placed out of service due to critical item violations
- 45.7% of these out-of-service (OOS) violations were a result of brake adjustment and brake system violations
- Hours of service and false logs topped the list of OOS driver violations, representing 46.8% and 16.4%, respectively
These numbers have steadily declined over the years, as you can see in our latest Chart of the Month, but the fact that more than one-fifth of vehicles still fail Level I inspections means there’s room for improvement. That’s why the trucking industry is turning to GPS fleet management technology – not just to track assets and ensure compliance, but also to anticipate vehicle maintenance and improve driver safety. Here’s how:
- Compliance: Fleet management solutions automate compliance, removing the potential for human error and reducing the likelihood of costly violation fees. Drivers no longer have to fill out tedious paperwork, but can digitally log their hours-of-service. Managers can rest easy, knowing both parties will be alerted if they’re at risk of non-compliance. Fleets that already realize the benefits of telematics for compliance will have no problem fulfilling the ELD mandate – an added bonus.
- Tracking Assets: GPS fleet tracking tools provide insight into the location of every vehicle or asset, and exactly what speed they’re traveling at. The more advanced tools even offer mapping insights and routing tools to help drivers complete more trips in a given day and maximize profitability for fleet owners.
- Vehicle Maintenance: Neglecting vehicle maintenance costs a fleet more than just violation fines. Forgoing regular checkups means the difference between having routine work done on a truck that is in service, and servicing a truck that stopped running – resulting in mechanical costs and vehicle downtime. Telematics tools simplify proactive maintenance, ensuring vehicles are serviced before they fail to operate.
- Driver Safety: Telematics also improves driver safety, not just by ensuring compliance and operative vehicles, but also through driver training features. Some tools allow managers to score driver performance based on company priorities and replay unsafe driving events. Managers can drill down into specific violations to identify and analyze where it occurred through a second-by-second playback, and drivers receive an overview of all safety violations, helping them recognize and rectify their own unsafe habits.
It’s likely these technologies have already influenced the year-over-year decline in violations, and as they make their way into more trucks we’re sure to see these numbers decrease even further. We’ll be looking out for 2017 numbers – check back to see if the industry continues to this positive trend.