The squeaky wheel gets the grease. When we’re overstretched and under resourced, we often give our attention to the biggest problem, focusing on putting out fires rather than preventing them.
A lot of times, the easiest thing to neglect is your vehicles, because as long as they’re out on the road, you assume they’re in good enough shape to allow your work to get done. But nothing puts vehicle maintenance front of mind like an inspection.
30 Years of CVSA Roadcheck Inspections
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) just released the results of its 2017 Roadcheck inspection blitz, which happened June 6–8, 2017. This 3-day inspection and enforcement event took place at inspection sites, weigh stations and roving patrol locations along roadways in Canada, Mexico, and the United States. CVSA-certified inspectors conducted 62,013 Level I, II and III commercial motor vehicle and driver inspections over the 72-hour event, which is celebrating its 30th year.
This year, a total of 62,013 inspections were conducted in total, including a newly created Level VIII inspection, which “is an inspection conducted electronically or wirelessly while a commercial motor vehicle is in motion without direct interaction with a roadside inspector/enforcement official.”
The ultimate consequence of a poorly maintained vehicle is seen through these incredible statistics: 19.4% of commercial motor vehicles and 4.7% of all drivers inspected (Level I, II or III inspections) during the 2017 Roadcheck were placed out of service. Of the 40,944 Level I Inspections conducted, 23% (9,398) were placed out of service for vehicle-related violations. Of the 62,013 total Level I, II, and III Inspections conducted, 4.7% (2,940) of drivers were placed out of service for driver-related violations.
The Cost of Being Out of Service
Potential fines aside, the true cost of a violation includes loss of productivity, credibility with customers, and the ability to attract qualified drivers and technicians, as well as overall damage to your brand. According to a Car Care Council study, the bill for accidents resulting from mismanaged maintenance is $2 billion a year.
Another cost to consider is a loss or lack of confidence, the knowledge of exactly what’s going on with your drivers and vehicles and the ability to anticipate downtime rather than work coming to an unexpected screeching halt. Unscheduled maintenance can turn potentially small problems into serious issues requiring expensive repairs.
During the CVSA Roadcheck, the top three out-of-service vehicle violations were for brake systems (26.9%), cargo securement (15.7%) and tires/wheels (15.1%). Of the vehicles placed out of service, brake adjustment and brake system violations combined to represent 41.4% (7,743) of all out-of-service vehicle violations. The top three driver-related violations were for Hours of Service (32.3% of driver out-of-service violations), wrong class license (14.9%) and false log book (11.3%).
Vehicle maintenance and health can certainly be time-consuming and frustrating to stay on top of. GPS fleet tracking helps automate the responsibility of monitoring vehicle performance and maintenance by keeping record of service events and sending alerts when a scheduled service is coming up. It can also help reduce other wear and tear on your vehicles by tracking fuel-wasting and hazardous driver behavior as well as improving routes to reduce time on the road.