The Roadcheck effect

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Roadcheck, as most of you well know, I’d wager, is coming up as usual the first week of June, the 2nd through 4th to be exact. The nationwide inspection blitz, as it’s typically described, this year takes as its theme a focus on cargo securement (flatbedders, look out!), though the general routine during Roadcheck is the full Level 1 truck/driver inspection.

It’s a big time for inspections all around the country, but at once, judging by nationwide inspection numbers of the last couple years, the “Roadcheck effect” in the numbers overall looks minimal in month-to-month view. The more observant among readers over the years have routinely remarked that law enforcement’s telegraphing of the event with announcements months ahead of time may dampen its impact. Good week to take a little well-deserved R&R for many truckers, such that that’s possible. June, the month the blitz has taken place the last two years, showed actually smaller numbers than the month preceding it in 2013, lending credence to reader reports of some states “getting started early” on the blitz, to paraphrase more than one May dispatch we’ve gotten over the years. June inspection numbers in 2014 were only slightly higher than May last year.

As a general rule, too, activity is certainly elevated on the inspections front this time of year, as the Spring freight season heats up with temps. Good weather brings the inspectors out, too, with greater regularity and frequency. In 2014, the month of June accounted for 9 percent of total inspections throughout the year, nearly a percentage point above the 8.3 percent that would be an normative month for the year if inspection numbers were consistent month-to-month. (Data here and in the chart above are from the federal system, analyzed by Overdrive and the folks at RigDig Business Intelligence, unless otherwise noted. Access more via OverdriveOnline.com/csa, updated through 2013, with 2014 inspection and violation numbers and rates, maps and charts coming soon.)

Last year, Roadcheck’s 72 hours of official activity, according to CVSA, saw in the neighborhood of 75,000 mostly Level 1 (truck and driver) inspections performed nationwide. If that’s correct, those three days accounted for 27 percent (or slightly 1 in 4) of all June inspections performed last year, nothing to sniff at. (75,000 inspections is 2.4 percent of 2014’s total inspections.) Inspections that occurred at fixed locations like weigh stations, where much of Roadcheck’s activity occurs, furthermore, saw their highest numbers in June in each of the last four years.

How do you get ready for Roadcheck? Mobile users can tap the image to weigh in with a voice message we may use in a future “mailbag” podcast.How do you get ready for Roadcheck? Mobile users can tap the image to weigh in with a voice message we may use in a future “mailbag” podcast.

It’s why getting ready for Roadcheck is such a topic of discussion, whether that means taking the week off or, like Connecticut independent Joe Bielucki, buttoning up the truck in preparation. When I talked to him a few weeks back, he and his 2004 Kenworth were in the middle of some “downtime to get ready for Roadcheck,” he said. The truck was headed up to “Tri-State Kenworth in Enfield, Conn.,” Bielucki’s regular shop. The diesel mechanic that started the place years ago, Bielucki says, “used to work on Cummins in his backyard. … He’ll go through the truck” with a fine-toothed maintenance comb, he added.

How do you prepare for Roadcheck? Call 530-408-6423 to weigh in with a voice message, or drop a comment below.

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