International Roadcheck 2019 Shows Recurring Theme

CVSA's 2019 International Roadcheck shows improvement in some areas, and poorer performance in others.

Tom Bray - Industry Consultant, J.J. Keller & Associates, Inc.

September 17 , 2019

During the 72 hours of CVSA’s International Roadcheck 2019 event, 67,072 commercial vehicles and drivers underwent a roadside inspection.

These inspections resulted in:

  • 12,019 vehicles (or 17.9% of the vehicles inspected) placed out of service.
  • 2,784 drivers (or 4.2% of the drivers inspected) placed out of service.

The numbers show improvements in some areas, and poorer performance in others when compared to last year’s Roadcheck data, when there were 67,603 inspections done, with 11,910 vehicles (21.6%) and 2,666 drivers (3.9%) placed out of service.

The bad news is that the problems seen this year are the same as the ones seen last year:

Vehicle violations

  • Brake system violations accounted for 28% of the vehicle out-of-service violations written this year, unchanged from last year.
  • Tire and wheel violations accounted for 19% of all out of service violations, the same as last year.
  • Brake adjustment accounted for 17% of the vehicle out-of-service orders, up from 16% last year.
  • Cargo securement moved one percentage point as well, dropping from 13% of the out-of-service violations in 2018 to 12% in 2019.
  • Light issues leading to an out-of-service order accounted for 11.5% of the vehicle out-of-service violations this year, compared to 12% last year.

In other words, the order of the top violations was unchanged, and the percentages moved only minimally when they moved at all.

During Roadcheck 2018, these violations (brakes, tires/wheels, cargo securement, and lights) accounted for a whopping 88% of the violations written. For 2019? These violation areas again accounted for 88% of the out-of-service violations.

Driver Violations

The story is the same for drivers. The most common reason a driver was put out of service in both 2018 and 2019 was an hours-of-service violation. The next most common reasons were having the wrong class of license, having false logs, and having a suspended license. In 2018, these four violation areas accounted for 83.5% of the out-of-service violations and 81.7% in 2019.

When the Snapshot Keeps Showing the Same Picture

International Roadcheck is seen as an annual snapshot of the industry, providing both enforcement and carriers with information on the state of the industry. If you look back to 1991 when it began, you will see that the out-of-service rates have dropped significantly over the long term. For reference, the vehicle out-of-service rate in 1991 was 35%. The driver out-of-service rate peaked in 1999, when it was over six percent. However, for the last several years, the industry has been stuck in a rut.

Use the Data

The big question is how do we get out of the rut we’re in? It might be easier than you think. We know the problem areas (vehicles — brakes, tires/wheels, cargo securement, and lights; drivers — hours of service and licensing), so designing mechanisms to guard against violations in these areas is what needs to be done. This could involve adjusting maintenance inspection schedules, changing driver training in the areas of logging and licensing, and tightening up driver qualification tracking.

By the way, your roadside data can provide you with the same insight the Roadcheck data is designed to provide. Look at your roadside inspection data and see where your problems are, both in terms of raw violation data and out-of-service violations. Then, design mechanisms to guard against those violations.


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