DOT Roadside Roundup
New Braunfels, TX, May 10, 2023
The FMCSA Roadside Roundup or what may also be known as the DOT Blitz is right around the corner. This campaign is a week-long event held by the Department of Transportation that focuses on promoting safety on our highways and byways through thorough inspections of commercial vehicles and their drivers. The FMCSA Roadside Roundup is held held from May 16-18 across the nation. During that time, law enforcement officers conduct roadside inspections of commercial motor vehicles and drivers to ensure that they are in compliance with federal safety regulations. In 2022 inspectors conducted 59,026 inspections and placed 12,456 commercial motor vehicles and 3,714 commercial motor vehicle drivers out-of-service. The top three DOT violations were: 1) Braking Systems, 2) Tires and a tie for 3) with Lights and Cargo securement.
Here are three key reminders to help navigate this heavy enforcement period and ensure that any DOT roadside inspections end with the ideal outcome of full compliance.
HAVE THE PROPER DOCUMENTATION
There are a number of items the officer will be taking a look at which include: medical card, driver’s license, insurance, registration, hours-of-service logs, and pre/post trip inspections. All of these items must be readily available and presented in a neat and orderly manner. Ensuring that the items are all current and up to date will aid in a successful roadside inspection. Please note that in some cases, the officer will not ask for a medical card. Especially for individuals that do not possess a CDL. In these cases, it is the responsibility of the driver to self-certify which means they must provide it to the officer even if he or she does not ask for it. For those of us that operate under the Utility Exemption, we must ensure that we note our hours-of-service logs accordingly and present the officer with the appropriate exemption letter as well as the letter of interpretation provided by the FMCSA.
COMPLETE A THOROUGH VEHICLE INSPECTION
Per 49 CFR 396.11, drivers of a passenger carrying and non-passenger carrying CMV’s must inspect vehicles and prepare and sign a written report at the completion of each day’s work on each vehicle operated. The report shall cover at LEAST the following parts and accessories and must list any defect or deficiency discovered by or reported to the driver which would affect the safe operation of the vehicle or result in its mechanical breakdown. These areas include the brakes, steering, lights and reflectors, engine compartment fluids, wheels and tires, horn, windshield and windshield wipers, rearview and side mirrors, load securement, gauges, and safety belts. Failure to do so can result in an unnecessary break down, out-of-service status (meaning shut down by an officer), or accident.
FOLLOW ALL RULES/LAWS OF THE ROAD
As drivers of company vehicles which are governed by many local, state, and federal rules and regulations, which poses a great deal of responsibility on each of us. The greatest risk we all have is that of human factor. Our behaviors behind the wheel of a motor vehicle often prevent us from incidents or cause them. The number one driver cited violation during the 2022 DOT Blitz was “following to close”. We must remember that the weight of our vehicles loaded up often exceed 15 thousand lbs. Now put your loaded trailer behind your company vehicle. The ability to stop is not the same as it is in a smaller sedan, or even a standard pick-up. The number 2 driver cited violation was “speeding”. Speeding is a direct failure of a driver paying attention to their surrounding and/or failing to maintain control of their vehicle. Local and state laws vary in each of our regions which is why it is crucial to be knowledgeable of each state’s laws and regulations.
If you would like more information on this topic or any other safety-related topic, please reach out to the Ontivity safety team at firstname.lastname@example.org, and we will get you taken care of.