Your Unpaid Job

Should you notice a blitz of inspections for three days this month, don’t be alarmed. It’s just the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance doing its thing – the coalition’s 17th annual Roadcheck. “Most drivers out there have a very good attitude,” says Steve Keppler, director of policy and programs at the CVSA headquarters in Washington, D.C. I know that applies to the vast majority of owner-operators. You wouldn’t have gotten where you are without special efforts to operate safely.

Our surveys show that 92 percent of you have preventive maintenance programs that include brakes, so yours likely won’t be among the many trucks sidelined during the June 8-10 Roadcheck. Brake problems accounted for half of the vehicle out-of-service orders at last year’s Roadcheck, when more than 55,000 inspections were conducted on this continent.

Five percent of drivers failed inspection last year. That could easily rise, given that the new hours-of-service rule has been in place only five months, though Keppler says maybe not. “The new regs have really increased people’s awareness of the new rule and people are really trying to comply,” he says.

The truly encouraging thing is that Roadcheck isn’t just an excuse for boys with badges to have fun pushing truckers around. The percentage of vehicles put out-of-service for mechanical reasons has dropped from 34 percent, when CVSA did its first Roadcheck 17 years ago, to 23 percent last year. Also during that period, truck-related fatalities have been cut in half.

While Keppler gives credit to many others in the industry for these results, CVSA also deserves a little pat on the back. As do you, too, for the unsung job of working at safety.