The 2023 International Roadcheck is slated for May 16-18, a high-visibility, high-volume inspection and enforcement push by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.

During this annual three-day event, CVSA-certified inspectors fan out across the United States, Canada and Mexico to inspect commercial vehicles and drivers at weigh and inspection stations, as well as designated inspection areas and along roadways.

Every year, inspectors will put a special emphasis on a specific area, and this year it’s on anti-lock braking systems (ABS) and cargo securement. Although ABS violations are not out-of-service violations, these systems can greatly reduce the risk of collisions by preventing wheels from locking up or skidding while braking.

Last year, the CVSA focus was on wheel ends and in 2021 it was on lighting and hours-of-service compliance.

Besides the ABS focus, inspectors will be looking for any critical violations. Any vehicles out of compliance will be immediately placed out of service. Those trucks may not be operated until the issues are remedied.

There are two parts to inspections: vehicle and driver safety compliance.

Vehicle safety

The CVSA has published a cheat sheet for drivers on what the inspectors will be looking at. Drivers can use this cheat sheet as a guide for safe vehicle maintenance and operation:

Brake systems — Check for missing, non-functioning, loose, contaminated or cracked parts on the brake system. Check for S-cam flipover. Be alert for audible air leaks around brake components and lines. Check that slack adjusters are the same length (from center of S-cam to center of clevis pin) and the air chambers on each axle are the same size.

Ensure the air system maintains air pressure between 90-100 psi (620-690 kPa). Inspect for non-manufactured holes (e.g., rust holes, holes created by rubbing or friction, etc.) and broken springs in the spring brake housing section of the parking brake.

Measure pushrod travel. Inspect required brake system warning devices, such as ABS malfunction lamp(s) and low air pressure warning devices. Inspect tractor protection system, including the bleedback system on the trailer. Ensure the breakaway system is operable on the trailer.

Fuel and exhaust systems — Check fuel tanks for the following conditions: loose mounting, leaks, or other conditions; loose or missing caps; and signs of leaking fuel below the tanks.

For exhaust systems, check the following: unsecured mounting, leaks beneath the cab, exhaust system components in contact with electrical wiring or brake lines and hoses, and excessive carbon deposits around seams and clamps.

Steering — Check the steering lash by first turning the steering wheel in one direction until the tires begin to pivot. Then, place a mark on the steering wheel at a fixed reference point and turn the wheel in the opposite direction until the tires again start to move.

Mark the steering wheel at the same fixed reference point and measure the distance between the two marks. The amount of allowable lash varies with the diameter of the steering wheel.

Coupling devices — Safety devices – full trailers/converter dolly(s): Check the safety devices (chains/wire rope) for sufficient strength, missing components, improper repairs, and devices that are incapable of secure attachment.

On the lower fifth wheel, check for unsecured mounting to the frame or any missing or damaged parts, or any visible space between the upper and lower fifth wheel plates. Verify that the locking jaws are around the shank and not the head of the kingpin, the release lever is seated properly, and the safety latch is engaged.

Check the upper fifth wheel for any damage to the weight-bearing plate (and its supports), such as cracks or loose or missing bolts on the trailer.

On the sliding fifth wheel, check for proper engagement of locking mechanism (teeth fully engaged on rail); also check for worn or missing parts. Ensure the position does not allow the tractor frame rails to contact the landing gear during turns. Check for damaged or missing fore and aft stops.

Frame, van and open-top trailers — Inspect for corrosion fatigue; cracked, loose, or missing cross members; cracks in frame; missing or defective body parts. Look at the condition of the hoses and check the suspension of air hoses on vehicles with sliding tandems.

On the frame and frame assembly, check for cracks, bends, sagging, loose fasteners, or any defect that may lead to the collapse of the frame; corrosion; fatigue; cracked or missing crossmembers; cracks in frame; missing or defective body parts. Inspect the axle(s).

For vans and open-top trailer bodies, look at the upper rail and check roof bows and side posts for buckling, cracks, or ineffective fasteners. On the lower rail, check for breaks accompanied by sagging floor, rail, or cross members; or broken with loose or missing fasteners at side post adjacent to the crack.

Lighting — Inspect all required lamps for proper color, operation, mounting and visibility.

Securement of cargo — Make sure you are carrying a safe load. Check tail board security. Verify end gates are secured in stake pockets. Check both sides of the trailer to ensure cargo is protected from shifting or falling. Verify that rear doors are securely closed.

Where load is visible, check for proper blocking and bracing. It may be necessary to examine inside of trailer to ensure large objects are properly secured. Check cargo securement devices for proper number, size, and condition. Check tie down anchor points for deformation and cracking.

Suspension — Inspect the suspension for indications of misaligned, shifted, cracked or missing springs; loose shackles; missing bolts; unsecured spring hangers; and cracked or loose U-bolts. Also, check any unsecured axle positioning parts and for signs of axle misalignment. On the front axle, check for cracks, welds, and obvious misalignment.

Tires, wheels, rims and hubs — Check tires for proper inflation, cuts, and bulges; regrooved tires on steering axle; tread wear and major tread groove depth.

Inspect sidewalls for improper repairs, exposed fabric or cord, contact with any part of the vehicle, and tire markings excluding it from use on a steering axle. Inspect wheels and rims for cracks; unseated locking rings; and broken or missing lugs, studs, or clamps.

Check for rims that are cracked or bent, have loose or damaged lug nuts and elongated stud holes, have cracks across spokes or in the web area, and have evidence of slippage in the clamp areas. Check the hubs for lubricant leaks; missing caps or plugs; misalignment and positioning; and damaged, worn, or missing parts.

Driver safety

The other focus of the inspection is driver safety. Inspectors will check the driver’s operating credentials, hours-of-service documentation, status in the drug and alcohol clearinghouse, seat belt usage, and for alcohol and/or drug impairment.

The takeaway

The CVSA has a number of resources about International Roadcheck on its website.

Vehicles that pass inspections will receive a CVSA decal to display. The decal is valid for three months and trucks that pass the inspection will not be subjected to additional inspections during that time.

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