Heads up: International Roadcheck is imminent

Drivers take note: International Roadcheck is May 17-19.

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) annual inspection is only a few days away, but that’s just enough time to take care of a few loose ends.

Reliance Partners Vice President of Safety Brian Runnels encourages drivers to be a bit more thorough with their pre-trip inspections and to take a couple seconds more to check the air in their tires or take a look at their brake linings to save them from a handful of violations.

This year, CVSA will focus on wheel ends as it carries out full 37-point Level I inspections across the United States, Canada and Mexico over the 72-hour period.

CVSA notes that wheel end component violations historically account for around one-quarter of the vehicle out-of-service violations discovered during International Roadcheck, with wheel end violations regularly cracking the top 10 on the vehicle violations list.

Runnels advises drivers to be aware that of the three most common violations — tires, brakes and lights — two are directly connected to the wheel end. So keep in mind that inspectors will be especially curious to check your wheels and braking components.

While last year’s Roadcheck focused on hours of service and lighting, CVSA still found its top out-of-service vehicle violations to be braking systems-related (26.5%) and tire-related (18.6%). Around 40,000 drivers were inspected last year, and 6,710 commercial motor vehicles and 2,080 drivers were removed from service.

With time on your side, don’t put off fixing these issues. To avoid violations, Runnels said not to neglect your pre-trip inspections and not to skimp on thoroughness.

It’s as simple as checking the air pressure of your tires or seeing if they have enough tread. Runnels said to also look for insufficient brake linings, leaking wheel seals, cracked wheels, or loose or missing lug nuts.

“Those are the easiest things for a driver to check during a pre-trip inspection other than actually adjusting the brakes, which you have to be certified to do on a self-adjusting brake,” Runnels said. “You know what they’re going to be looking for, so why not do the work that you need to do to prepare?”

While every commercial vehicle will be subject to inspection on May 17-19, it doesn’t mean that all will be stopped.

Runnels said that inspectors will be more likely to stop trucks that fit a certain profile — dirty and distressed-looking vehicles will be the first ones to get a look. While not always the case, a messy dashboard or cab is another tell-tale sign to inspectors that underlying violations may be present.

Appearance often means everything, so remember to keep your vehicle maintained and washed, and be sure to fix your violations while you’re at it.

“Is it a guarantee that they’re not going to look at you? No. But does it improve your chances of getting through that scale without getting looked at? Yeah, it sure does,” Runnels said.

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