Any professional truck driver knows that staying on top of your truck’s maintenance and keeping it in good condition are just a way of life. From tire pressure, to route planning, to looking at the weather forecast, a good driver is sure to have all their boxes checked. Keeping your rig in good working condition isn’t only important because it helps you make your stops on time. Having a thoroughly inspected rig that’s in great shape is also essential for keeping our roads safe for you and all the other drivers out there. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance knows this too and the men and women who dedicate their time to the CVSA do so in order to make sure that all commercial vehicles on the road adhere to the safety regulations in place on America’s roads. Each year the CVSA rolls out the largest targeted enforcement program on commercial motor vehicles in the world with their annual International Roadcheck. The CVSA doesn’t give much notice for when the check will take place, but we’re here to give you some advice on how to pass through this year’s Roadcheck with flying colors.
We will go ahead and start off with the biggest random safety inspection no-no: getting snarky or being aggressive with the inspector. If you’ve been stopped for an inspection, whether it is during this year’s Roadcheck, by a DOT officer, by a state trooper or by any other enforcement official, keep your cool. We know you have a job to do and you feel like you’re being held up but so does the inspector. Making their job harder by copping an attitude will cause the whole process to take longer. If you’re polite and cooperative, you may be let go after a quick once-over.
Be neat and tidy
Inspectors can’t look at every single truck on the road at a given time so they have to use their discretion when it comes to deciding whose truck to inspect. Being chosen for an inspection probably isn’t a big deal for most drivers, especially those whose trucks are well maintained. However, we know just as well as you do that sometimes you’re in on a tight schedule and an inspection is a slowdown that you can’t afford. One way to avoid this is by having a truck that looks like it doesn’t need inspection. We’re not saying that a Wendy’s bag from that morning will trip you up, but if your rig looks and smells like a disaster then an inspector will probably question how well it’s maintained. Keep the inside and outside of your truck as clean as possible and you may just avoid a delay along your route.
Have your paperwork handy
This is another point that goes right along with keeping a clean truck. Let’s say you do get stopped. Many inspectors will take a relatively quick assessment and as long as your vehicle looks clean, they’ll ask to see your paperwork and then let you on your way. The problem comes in when you don’t have that paperwork ready in a place that’s easy to find and access. If the inspector has to watch you fumble through a mountain of old, wrinkled documents, you’re going to have to pull it in. Keep all needed documentation in a ringed binder or portable filer. If you’re truck is clean and your documents are in order, then you’ll likely be told you can go about your business.
When you have a long schedule with lots of road left to travel, going through an inspection can seem like the last thing in the world you have time for. Just keep in mind that the CVSA Annual International Roadcheck is there to make the roads safer for all drivers and to make everyone’s job a little bit easier in the long run. If you can keep your truck well maintained you should have no problems, and you might even be a perfect fit to become an international van lines truck driver.