How do you know when Spring is in the air as a truck driver? Road Check! That’s right folks the annual Road Check program will take place again this year on June 6-8, 2017. The focus of this year’s inspections will be on cargo securement. That’s nothing new as cargo securement, brakes, lights, and other important items are always on the list.
If you are new to the trucking industry you may not be familiar with this program, but any veteran will have gone through this many times. Road Check is a program where inspection personnel open all the inspection stations across North America for a 72 hour period inspecting as many vehicles as they can. This is a joint effort with law enforcement, inspection personnel, and other organizations to show the public that they are serious about road safety and taking unsafe vehicles off the road. The states such as New York that don’t have permanent inspection stations will be opening portable scales in various locations throughout the Country. You can bet that you will see enforcement somewhere.
This year the inspection focus will be cargo securement but that doesn’t mean they won’t look at other items. Every year the inspection program focuses on a different aspects of the equipment and you can count on brakes and wheel fasteners always being high on the list. During this period enforcement will have all hands working with inspection stations open 24 hours per day and will be trying to do as many Level 1 inspections as possible. It is well advertised to the public and is held the same time every year so it shouldn’t be a surprise.
As a driver avoiding inspections stations will not be a practical or suggested. The best way to get through the drama of inspections is to do thorough inspections yourself. If you are reading this anytime before June 6th then you have been warned! If the inspection process is a weak point for you then get better at it. If you have been letting things go on your truck now is the time to get them repaired. Paying attention to your loads should be a priority at any time but now is the time to give it that extra walk around and check before leaving the shipper.
A few years ago I was at a local inspection station viewing the program for that year. I decided to follow one truck all the way through to see what inspectors were looking for. A landscape truck pulled in to the weigh station and across the scale. The red light came on and he was asked to park around back. I followed the inspector and asked why he had pulled the truck around back as everything seemed fine from a view point from afar. The inspector pulled the driver around back because of a twig that was hanging off the back of the load of shrubs that this driver had on. The twig could have come off and hit a vehicle following the truck. That was easily fixed as the inspector walked over and took the twig off the vehicle. He then proceeded on with a full inspection. The driver was held up for hours as the inspecting officer found tire issues, brake defects and other items that needed attention.
The inspection process can change in an instant. You could be pulled in to just check a log book and find out now you are into a full inspection. Being prepared by doing proper pre-trip inspections are your best defence against Road Check 2017. If you would like to hear how the process at the weigh stations work then I invite you to listen to episode 156 of The Lead Pedal Podcast helping you get through with a clean inspection. You can find it at http://theleadpedalpodcast.com/lp156-surviving-the-scales-with-bud-kneller. Good luck with your journey and take extra care, you will get through.
About the Author
Bruce Outridge is a speaker / consultant with over 30 years experience in the transportation industry. He is the host of The Lead Pedal Podcast for drivers
( www.theleadpedalpodcast.com), author of the books Running By The Mile and Driven to Drive, and is a trainer and consultant for the industry. You can learn more about Bruce and his work at www.bruceoutridge.com