Despite concerns that a weakening economy combined with ever-increasing fuel prices would push safety to the bottom of the list for commercial motor vehicle fleets, a recent check on the industry shows the lowest rate of out-of-service vehicles in two decades.
“This rate (23.9 percent vehicle out-of-service rate for Level I Inspections) is the principal barometer used to measure compliance, and it is the lowest we’ve seen in the 21-year history of Roadcheck,” says Stephen Campbell, executive director of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance. “It is clear the safety message is being heard and that the increased enforcement presence is making a difference. We appreciate the industry’s continued commitment to make safety its top priority not just during Roadcheck, but throughout the entire year.”
From June 3-5, 9,148 CVSA- and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration-certified inspectors at 1,683 locations across North America performed 67,931 truck and bus inspections; 52,345 of the total were North American Standard Level I inspections, the most comprehensive roadside inspection. Both the total number of inspections and Level I inspections were records for the annual Roadcheck event; 2008 saw significant positive gains in out-of-service rates for most vehicle and driver types.
CVSA sponsors Roadcheck each year with FMCSA, Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, Transport Canada and the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (Mexico).
For drivers, the 5.3 percent overall out-of-service rate was a 14.5 percent improvement over last year’s rate, a significant jump. For drivers, there was a significant improvement in hours-of-service compliance rates, reversing a trend from the past several years. In 2007, 66.3 percent of drivers placed out of service were done so for HOS violations. In 2008, this number was 55.6 percent; 3.8 percent of all drivers inspected in 2008 were placed out of service for an HOS violation, down from 4.9 percent last year.
Despite some positive trends, the number of safety-belt violations rose significantly this year – from 829 in 2007 to 1,226 this year. Safety-belt enforcement continues to be a primary focus each year. Brakes continue to be the dominating vehicle out-of-service defect, comprising 52.6 percent of the total vehicle defects. The percentage of vehicle out-of-service defects that were brake-related has declined noticeably over the last few years, down from a high of 56.6 percent in 2004.
“It’s critical that everyone pulls together to make our highways and roads continually safer,” says FMCSA Administrator John Hill. “The annual Roadcheck event provides a great focus on commercial vehicle safety. It is also important that the public do its part by driving safely in the vicinity of large trucks and buses. Let’s all of us continue to make safety the highest priority of every day.”
Driver results for the vehicle types were as follows:
· All vehicles: 94.7 percent of drivers passed the inspection, and 5.3 percent were placed out of service (6.2 percent were out of service in 2007).
· Hazmat: 97.6 percent of drivers passed the inspection, and 2.4 percent were placed out of service (3.5 percent were out of service in 2007).
· Passenger-carrying vehicles: 95.5 percent of drivers passed the inspection, and 4.5 percent were placed out of service (3.8 percent were out of service in 2007).
Vehicle results were as follows:
· All vehicles: 79.2 percent of vehicles passed the inspection, and 20.8 percent were placed out of service (21.5 percent were out of service in 2007).
· Hazmat: 82.4 percent of vehicles passed the inspection, and 17.6 percent were placed out of service (17.7 percent were out of service in 2007).
· Passenger-carrying vehicles: 87.8 percent of vehicles passed the inspection, and 12.2 percent were placed out of service (12.3 percent were out of service in 2007).