CVSA, The Big Bad Bears, and Your Equipment | Semi Truck Repair
Before we even get started, let’s quickly take care of a little housekeeping.
This post will NOT contain any opinions on the publication of a fleet’s CVSA scores, the FMSCA’s rules and regulations, and whether or not “bears” are really “bad” or not. We just chose to use that as the title because there are some drivers in the industry already think so and… well… it made for a darn good title. (We ask that you not judge our writer for that.)
We recognize that there are both valid and moot points for each side of the aforementioned arguments; and also that there is much debate going on right now about it/them. So, because we can see both sides–like Switzerland–we choose to stay neutral. (And we ask that you please not judge our company for that either.)
This past week though, our company was fortunate enough to sit in on a meeting between a state law official and one of our clients. Since the inspection blitz is now just over a month away, we thought the information relevant to share for our clients and fleets.
It is important to note that the Trooper that visited was kind, courteous, and more than willing to share what he looks for with our group. (And we’re not just saying that. :)) Though it may feel like an incredibly personal invasion of your privacy to have someone going over your equipment with a fine tooth comb–the intentions behind the inspections are truly good. Law enforcement officials want to make sure that the trucks that very literally carry our nation’s economy–are doing so safely. Yes, there are bad seeds in every bunch–but that truly goes both ways. Without a doubt, there are inspectors who seem like they just can’t wait to find a violation. But on the other hand, there are also carriers who will wait until they’re caught to fix something on their truck–which isn’t safe for their drivers or anyone else on the road!
Our key takeaways were that troopers will look for “obvious” violations to flag a vehicle for inspection. (Several of these we didn’t exactly think were so “obvious,” but then again we haven’t looked at it from a troopers perspective. )
If you’ve got a light on your tractor or trailer–it needs to be working. Period. For example, if you’re travelling in a state where you are not required by law to have a licence plate light–but you do and it’s not working? They’ll stop you for that.
Tires that look like they could be underinflated? Halt.
Air lines that look like they could be chafing? (No separator?) Hold your horses.
Broken reflector? Go no further.
His advice to the fleet was very simply to take care of the equipment that takes care of you:
Ensure that the “easy to spot” defects are fixed before you’re rolling.
Make sure your equipment has proof of an annual inspection, whether a decal on your truck or a copy of the paperwork.
Be certain that your rigs are properly greased and lubed. (and not leaking any of those fluids!)
He also mentioned the importance of preventative maintenance programs in the catching of these items. (But any fleet owner/maintenance manager worth his salt knows that a consistent PM program can reduce the number of violations they see month to month; just as any respectful employer knows that violations not only affect their fleet but their drivers as well.) So keeping a PM program in place truly is common sense “homework” to prepare for these inspections. But since we know that common sense isn’t always so common…. we’re including what we use as our PM Checklist (which includes everything you’ll find on an annual inspection report and then some) below!