International Roadcheck is a high-volume, high-visibility three-day enforcement initiative that highlights the importance of commercial motor vehicle safety through roadside inspections. This year it will take place on May 5-7. Even with these days announced the inspections could happen any day of the year and you should always be prepared, and if you need a reminder to check out our tips for pre-trip inspections here. This year’s focus is on the driver requirements category of the roadside inspection.
We will go through these requirements and give you some tips so that these inspections go without a hiccup.
Each inspection procedure will start with a greeting, interviewing and preparing the driver. Some of the things the inspectors will ask for and look for are your documents, like your driver’s license and commercial driver’s license, medical examiner’s certificate, illegal presence of alcohol, drugs, weapons or other contraband, illness or fatigue, seat belt condition and usage, daily vehicle inspection report, and other documents that you are required to have.
So, here are some tips that will help you get inspection ready and stay carefree while on the road.
1. Have your documents prepared and up to date
It is always a good idea to have all your documents in one place, in a folder or a binder, neat and ready to be inspected. Making the inspector’s job easier by being professional and prepared is always a good idea, and it will help you be on your way faster.
2. Keep your truck clean and tidy
Just like in any other aspect of life we leave an impression on people with things like cleanliness tidiness. Keep your rig clean, having a dirty rig might be a reason for getting pulled over. If your truck cab is messy it also raises the chances of the inspection being more thorough. Always know where your fire extinguisher and your emergency triangles are, as well as your logbook and other documents.
3. Be professional during your interview
Being a trucker can be a lonely job, but you get used to it, sometimes maybe too much. Maybe you chose this job because it is easier than dealing with a lot of people on a daily basis. But, just like everyone, the inspectors are just doing their job, being polite and professional while going through the interview and the rest of the inspection is the best way to go about this. Being rude is always a bad idea when dealing with anyone, especially with someone who decides if your inspection lasts 15 minutes or a lot longer. Keep in mind how you like to be treated and apply that here. In the end, everyone just wants to do their job the best they can and have as little stress as possible doing it.
4. Follow the “Hours of service” rules
Violating “hours of service” rules could lead to violations and citations during a roadside inspection. Make sure that you understand and are compliant with these rules and also with the electronic logging devices(ELD) mandate. These violations could put you out of service.
5. Obey traffic rules
Something that is important to keep repeating is that safety comes first. Following traffic rules will help you stay safe and not get stopped for an inspection. The things to remember are: avoid speeding and making unsafe turns, always remember to signal, obey traffic signals and signs, don’t use your cell phone, wear a seatbelt. Follow these tips and you lower the chance of being pulled over and getting a ticket or getting a harsh inspection.
6. Be honest with the inspector
By doing your pre-trip inspections every day before getting on the road you will be able to catch any problems in time, but it might be impossible to fix it immediately. Be honest with your inspector if you have a valid reason for not fixing the problem. If you have a plan for fixing whatever is wrong on your next stop and you mention it, you have a better chance than if you hide a problem and the inspector finds it anyway. Honesty is the best policy.
7. Out-of-service criteria and violations
Out-of-service violations are serious and need to be addressed. Knowing the out-of-service criteria gives you a chance to check all the items on your pre-trip inspections. Always check your tires and wheels, brake system, frame, fuel system, and all the other items before getting on the road. Going back on the road without fixing the out-of-service violations will result in further violations and large fines.
8. Be mentally prepared
Being mentally prepared for things that might be stressful is the best way to lower the stress level and keep doing your job the way you are supposed to do it. You might not get pulled over on the three days of the big inspections, but one day will be your day to get inspected. Preparing mentally and by doing everything you should when getting on the road will help you stay calm and focus on your job. It will help you when you eventually get pulled over because you will already have a good attitude, you will be relaxed knowing you have everything in order and it raises your chances of getting back on the road faster without any violations or fines.
Roadside inspections can be annoying and time-consuming, but they are necessary. Inspections are important to ensure your safety and the safety of others on the road. They are part of the job and can happen anytime and anywhere. So, to stay safe and to stay relaxed, always be prepared, be sure your truck is in the best condition for doing your job in time and in the safest way possible, keep a good attitude and be polite during your inspection and you will be back on the road in no time. Follow the tips on the pre-trip inspection so you can check everything before getting pulled over, and follow the tips here to pass the inspection with flying colors and stay stress-free through the whole process.