Prepare for Targeted Inspections in June

The Iowa Department of Transportation’s Motor Vehicle Enforcement recently stopped a driver who didn’t realize his load had come unbundled, butting up against the trailer’s wooden removable side boards. This year’s International Roadcheck will focus on cargo securement safety.

Fleet companies and truck drivers have just a couple of weeks left to prepare for the largest targeted commercial motor vehicle inspection effort in North America.

The 30th annual International Roadcheck is June 6-8. Certified inspectors in jurisdictions across the United States, Mexico and Canada will focus on a Standard Level 1 Inspection, the most thorough roadside inspection that examines both the vehicle as well as driver operating requirements.

Each inspection can take up to an hour or more. Vehicles found in compliance will receive a special decal that generally spares them from re-inspection during the month of issuance, plus two months.  

This year’s event is placing an emphasis on cargo securement. Inspectors are trained to look for the proper loading and securement of cargo on commercial vehicles. They also check that equipment is functioning and tied down safely and correctly. Inspectors take load securement regulation seriously. Loads that are improperly secured can cause road damage, injury and death.

Past spotlighted categories include tire safety (2016), cargo securement (2015) and hazardous materials/dangerous goods (2014).

An improperly secured I-beam flies off of a truckload of scrap metal and into the dash of an unsuspecting motorist. The truck driver was in possession of cargo netting, but failed to use it.

Motor Vehicle Enforcement Officer Loren Waterman has seen a lot in his 22 years with the Iowa Department of Transportation. Examples of violations he’s found while on patrol are scattered throughout this post. Many accidents, fines and citations are preventable, he says.

“Take the initiative to go through everything,” Waterman said. “It takes you 5 minutes to update your logbook. Make sure your load is properly secured. When in doubt, scale it out.”

With truck stops sprinkled along most major highways and interstates, drivers typically have access to additional tie downs or weigh scales, if needed, prior to getting pulled over for an inspection.

Waterman said tighter regulations accompanied with initiatives like International Roadcheck are paying off.

“You don’t see those really bad trucks out there anymore,” he said. “The safety of the road depends on how all these companies are keeping their equipment up.”

A roadside inspection guide published by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance ahead of the International Roadcheck three-day event, happening June 6-8, 2017.

International Roadcheck times and locations will vary by state. In Iowa, most weigh station facilities will be staffed daily with four to five inspectors, along with someone on patrol, Waterman said.

International Roadcheck, created by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, is expected to average nearly 17 trucks or buses inspected every minute during the 72-hour period. Participants include the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, Transport Canada and the Secretariat of Communications and Transportation (Mexico).

Since the program’s inception in 1988, more than 1.5 million roadside inspections have been conducted.

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