For Truck Fleets and Operators, it Pays to Act Like Boy Scouts

If you’re looking for ways to avoid being pulled over for a vehicle inspection or to be cited or declared out-of-service during a random vehicle inspection, BarOle Trucking safety manager Karol Smith and owner-operator Tommy Willis have two words of advice that the Boy Scouts live by: “Be Prepared.”scout

Based on the experience of her company’s intermodal operation, Karol recommends studying all state and federal rules regarding commercial vehicles. A good place to start is the out-of-service criteria identified by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance in its most recent North American Standard Out-of-Service Criteria Handbook – available for order on the CVSA web site: http://www.cvsa.org/programs/nas.php/.

She also suggests fleets contact their state trucking associations to see if they may have some resources to offer. The Minnesota Trucking Association offers a safety council where fleet safety managers can meet monthly to exchange ideas on ways to improve safety.

Tommy keeps all his important documents such as his medical card, registration, proof of insurance, IFTA paperwork and HOS log book in a small portfolio that can fit inside his glove box.

He tells us that by keeping your cab clean, tidy and well organized, and the dashboard clear of mail, invoices, maps, fuel and fast food receipts, when you pull into a weigh station, your truck cab isn’t broadcasting the message ‘hey, I’m so disorganized that you need to inspect my truck.’

Karol and Tommy also make the following suggestions to make your next vehicle inspection less painful based on their own experience and the experiences of others:

  • Routinely take a closer look at your truck.
    In addition to your regular pre- and post trip vehicle inspections, routinely take a good, hard, realistic look at your truck. Pay particular attention to those hard-to-reach places. Check inflation pressures of the front and rear right inside trailer tires. If you have missing or burned-out running lights, (which is one of the most common issues for which truck fleets or operators are cited), peeling or missing reflective tape, low tire tread depth or balding tires, take care of it sooner, not later. Don’t wait!

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  • Ask a buddy to take a good whiff of your cab. This may seem a little strange, but ask your spouse or a best friend to give your truck cab and sleeper a good whiff test. If it smells bad or funky, take the time to clean the truck interior (ideally, have it steam cleaned). Air it out and replace the cabin air filter. Refrain from smoking in your truck if at all possible, or use a good auxiliary filter or air purifier to remove cigarette smoke. Offensive odors can greatly influence an officer to be more critical.

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  • Emergency preparedness. Check your emergency response kit and make sure the fire extinguisher is charged and securely fastened where it should be. Safety first, drivers!

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Starting with this entry, the Drivewyze blog will regularly feature, among other things, stories we’ve read or saw that we think might interest you; operational tips we’ve heard from truck fleets and operators; or news associated with weigh station bypass. From time to time, the blog will also feature life stories and lessons learned from fellow Drivewyze users. We want to hear from you! Let us know what’s on your mind or what you think about this first entry regarding weigh station etiquette tips from BarOle Trucking safety manager Karol Smith and owner-operator Tommy Willis. Email us at: marketing@drivewyze.com