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Spring: Roadside Inspection Season Blossoms

7 Principles of Safety-1

It’s Spring. And along with the colorful blooming of azaleas and rhododendrons, it’s that time of year for roadside commercial vehicle inspections to flower. There are two major efforts that will compare trends for safety improvement (or deterioration) from past years.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) together with state and local law enforcement are conducting safety inspections of motor coaches, tour buses, school buses and other commercial passenger buses in 13 states and the District of Columbia as we write.

The sweeps are part of FMCSA’s effort to raise the bar for bus safety and protect bus passengers. From May 11 and running through May 20, inspections are being held in 13 states: New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Vermont, Maryland, Virginia, Delaware, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, New Hampshire, Maine, Connecticut, West Virginia and the District of Columbia.

Inspectors are checking buses for mechanical issues such as brakes, hours-of-service violations, medical fitness, commercial driver’s license violations (in some cases) and other federal safety rules.

An even bigger endeavor is Roadcheck 2012, an effort of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), a partner of FMSCA. (See link: www.cvsa.org/).

According to CVSA, “Roadcheck is the largest targeted enforcement program on commercial vehicles in the world, with approximately 14 trucks or buses being inspected, on average, every minute from Canada to Mexico during a 72-hour period”. Do the math and you’ll come up with about 60,000 inspections, a healthy effort. It happens on June 5, 6 and 7. And they’ll be looking for just about any type of violation, but if I were you, I’d really take a hard look at your log books.

What will happen? Expect CSA scores to take a nice hit. Here are some results from last year:

  • All inspections: 95.8 percent of drivers passed, and 4.2 percent were placed OOS--out of service (4.4 percent were out of service in 2010).
  • All inspections: 80.7 percent of vehicles passed, and 19.3 percent were placed OOS (20.0 percent were out of service in 2010).
  • Passenger carrying vehicles: 91.3 percent of vehicles passed the inspection, and 8.7 percent were placed out of service (9.0 percent were out of service in 2010).

Citing progress, CVSA’s Executive Director Stephen A. Keppler said, “…there is room for improvement until the roads are free from vehicle and driver violations.”

We don’t disagree with that. Let’s hope for a rosier Spring, but better yet, let’s take proactive recruiting and training steps that will make safety bud and flower.
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Mark G. Gardner
Chief Executive Officer
Avatar Management Services, Inc
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