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Direct from the Ohio State Highway Patrol | Semi Truck Repair

Well, here we are.

Countdown to CVSA’s International Roadcheck 2016

Another week closer and 12 days away to the first publicized inspection blitz of the year.  We are all well aware that multiple “blitzes” happen throughout the course of the year. I keep making the comparison to our days past sitting at school desks, and while it’s slightly annoying, you can’t deny the comparison makes sense. Pop up blitzes are like the “pop quizzes” of these aforementioned school days.  You’re supposed to be studying (read: preventative maintenance) all the time, so no matter when the “quiz” pops up, you’re prepared. This first publicized blitz is akin to a mid term exam. We all know what’s going to be on it, we all know when it’s going to be held, so it’s our own fault if we fail right? Yes. There are really no excuses for failure here ya’ll.

Now before I begin with the promised interview information from Brandon Evans, the Motor Carrier Enforcement Supervisor for the Ohio State Highway Patrol, I wanted to make a personal comment (as I am often in the habit of doing :)) about the negative light in which some people in his profession are held. Yes, there are sour apples in EVERY bunch in EVERY industry. But in my opinion, what a lot of people fail to remember – is that for the most part – these men and women are just regular people like us, doing their jobs to the best of their ability. They’re not people that should be villainized. They come into work every day hoping for a good day and hope to go home to their families on time every night. (Which, as is similar to most of us, doesn’t always happen due to the nature of our jobs. Such is life.) Long story short though, they aren’t “out to get us.” They’ve been given a list of safety regulations and it’s their job to make sure everyone on the road is following them. Don’t like it? Drink the JAM Kool-Aid and take care of your equipment. Preventative maintenance lowers your operating expenses, cost per mile, and number of roadside service calls you will pay for annually. On top of that and to get back on topic (because we all know I am often in the habit of digressing as well :)) it will also reduce or eradicate the number of DOT violations you receive.

So! What did I learn from Mr. Evans of the Ohio State Highway Patrol? A lot of GOOD STUFF. Here’s my synopsis of the conversation.

Basically each year the CVSA studies the results from previous inspections and chooses a focus area from something that consistently receives a high number of violations. However, as I mentioned in last week’s post – just because they choose a focus area does NOT mean that’s the only thing they are looking at. In fact, as Mr. Evans stated, and is somewhat commonly known, the opposite is true. A level one inspection – the entire vehicle inspection – is the one most commonly carried out. So while tires are the “focus” of this year’s blitz, you need to make sure all components of your equipment are on point – or you’ll be contributing to the CVSA’s coffers. (Interesting note here – in 2015 the FMCSA collected $33,751,234. How’s that for a gut punch? So yeah… if you think a violation isn’t gonna happen to you? You should probably think again. )

Since this years focus is tires though, I asked Mr. Evans if he could briefly describe what they are looking for on a tire. Here are the 3 major points he said they will look at:

  • No points in ANY tread groove can be less than 2/32nds
  • Sidewalls can’t have any bulges or exposed cords
  • The air pressure of the tire – upon visual inspection – can’t appear to have less than 50% of what it’s rated for. If it looks that way, they will check with a gauge.

What I took from these three major points is that you just need to be diligent about your tires. If you’ve got a tire that has some irregular wear and a groove or two less than the legal 2/32nds… but the majority of the tire is measuring like a legal beagle? Pull it. For starters irregular wear is a sure sign of a mechanical issue on your truck or trailer (which your maintenance department should be looking at anyway.)  And secondly, what if that specific groove is the one they look at? Boom. You’ve got a violation… and a hefty fine. What’s the point? Diligence will not only keep your equipment performing better, but it’ll save you some cash come the beginning of June.

So what if you’re running a few tires that are directly at the 2/32 mark? Mr. Evans mentioned that OOS criteria specifically states that a tire has to be LESS THAN 2/32nds to be considered a violation or OOS. So while you won’t get dinged with a penalty,  many inspectors will make a reference to which wheel positions are close in the notes section of the report. His advice? Change them out whenever that truck gets back to the terminal. Better to be safe than sorry. A blitz doesn’t have to be going on for your equipment to be inspected, and you can get fines any day of the week.

Last year they logged the average time that inspection took to be around the 30 minute mark. But that was including data from ALL inspections, including the ones that are only component specific. Since the bulk of the inspections carried out June 7-9th will be Level 1, you can fully expect your wait time to be longer, especially if you have a truck or two ahead of you. The only guarantee to speed up the process? Make sure your equipment is on point. (But we’ve said that already, haven’t we? :))

Below is some information that he passed on from CVSA’s packet to share with our audience. And on next week’s agenda? The inspection checklist (a.k.a THE study guide) to prep or review your equipment.

9_Top Tire Related Violations

11_Tips for Avoiding Tire Violations

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