Inspections

Are you ready for CVSA’s annual International Roadcheck?

In case you missed it, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) announced it will be conducting its annual International Roadcheck June 4-6 throughout North America. We can hear the groans from here. But, take heart, if this annual checkup makes you sweat a little bit, you still have some time to make adjustments to your vehicle beforehand.

In reality, the CVSA isn’t ‘out to get you,’ and if they were, they wouldn’t announce the dates they are conducting inspections. They just want to keep the transportation industry in check and keep the roadways safe.

The CVSA is very upfront with what they will be checking. Every year the CVSA has a specific safety system focus they look at when conducting their inspection, and this year the CVSA will look at steering and suspensions.

According to Will Schaefer, CVSA’s director of safety programs, this will be the first time CVSA will zero-in on steering and suspensions since the CVSA started performing annual inspections in 1988. Typically, steering and suspension systems violations are not commonly cited for violations compared to other vehicle components.

So, what’re some signs that point to potential issues with steering and suspension? For starters, if you notice more bumps/shakes while driving than usual or you notice your truck is beginning to bounce or sway at low speeds, that could indicate a problem with the suspension. Your truck should be able to withstands bumps in the roads at low speeds, and if it doesn’t, that could mean your truck is having a tough time supporting its weight.

Every so often, it’s a good idea to park your big rig on level ground, step away from the truck and see if it sits level. If it appears to sit on one side, that could indicate that the suspension components are either worn or blown out.

Problems with your steering wheel can be a little easier to register. If you feel your truck drift to one side of the road when you take your hands off the wheel, an adjustment may need to be made.

For a better understanding as to why its important to get steering and suspension issues corrected, CVSA explains why.

The CVSA isn’t trying to hide anything from you. In fact, they even list the breakdown of the type of inspections they could administer and a list of what they will look for. Here’s the link. Think of this as receiving the questions and answers to a test. As long as you know what’s coming, you should be fine. But you may want to give your vehicle an inspection beforehand, that way there are no surprises.

Last year, more than one out of every five trucks that received a comprehensive Level I inspection was taken out of service. Seems pretty high, right? That’s actually an improvement from a year prior.

So, what happens when a truck doesn’t pass? Well, it’s not allowed to hit the road again until the problem(s) are fixed. That can cause some serious headaches for drivers and fleets.

It’s also worth noting that during the inspection, CVSA officers will check out drivers to make sure they have proper paperwork, identification and are physically able to drive (no signs of sickness, fatigue or impairment from substances). At the end of the day, CVSA conducts safety checks every day of the year. At any point in time, a vehicle could be subjected to an inspection. Take some time and do what you can to be prepared for this year’s inspections. Don’t be one in five trucks that doesn’t pass.