It’s that time of the year again – International RoadCheck 2018 is just around the corner. Private Motor Carrier interviewed Waterloo Regional Police Sergeant Michael Hinsperger about the industry event.
Q: What are the dates for International RoadCheck 2018?
A: RoadCheck is June 5-7, 2018.
Q: How long have you been involved in International RoadCheck?
A: The Ontario Police Commercial Vehicle Committee (OPCVC) has been in existence since 2009 and has taken part in RoadCheck each year since that time.
Q: What will be the focus of this year’s International RoadCheck?
A: We are consistently dealing with common violation issues from year to year. Brake adjustments, load security, air lines, hours of service and inferior trip inspections seem to repeat themselves year after year. These will certainly be a primary focus again this year, but recently we have been focusing a lot more (at least in Ontario) on the ‘fatal four’ issues causing collisions on our highways. These are aggressive driving, distracted driving, impaired driving, and non-use of seatbelts. With commercial vehicles, distracted driving has quickly risen to the top of the heap as a major concern.
Q: Do you believe RoadCheck has a positive effect on trucking industry road safety beyond the three days of the event?
A: I think RoadCheck (as well as other major enforcement initiatives) has a positive effect on the trucking industry. A lot of the positive aspects are the awareness of CMV safety, which spin out of these initiatives. It helps keep CMV road safety in the minds of all the stakeholders involved in this vital industry.
Enforcement is only a small part of the road safety components. I find the majority of those in the trucking industry are very responsible and conscientious when it comes to their safety programs from a driver standpoint and an operator standpoint, but as with every other vital industry there is a need to have those ‘checks and balances’ to keep the pendulum running smoothly.
As much as enforcement on these common violations is a necessary check and balance, so too is the educational interaction component that comes with the enforcement. It is common for drivers and operators to call and ask what they can improve on to make their company a better, safer operator; and I have a lot of respect and time for those folks who do reach out for those answers.
Q: Do you think the use of ELDs (Electronic Logging Devices) will help carriers and drivers become more HOS compliant? Do you think it will help minimize the effects of driver fatigue? What other effects may ELDs have on the industry?
A: I think ELDs will have a very positive effect on the HOS compliance and will definitely help with driver fatigue effects. I believe they will not be the so-called “silver bullet” to the problem, but I do think ELDs will improve the driver safety in the industry as a whole with respect to driving fatigued.
As with any new technology there will undoubtedly be growing pains from all sides, but I believe law enforcement as well as industry partners are intelligent enough to cooperatively work through those growing pains.
I believe other effects ELDs will help with is making the industry a little more of a level playing field once the majority of operators are using them correctly, and as with other electronic technology, there will be a cross section of people who will feel a need to tamper with them for their own selfish reasons. Some of the tampering will likely involve more nefarious criminal intent with respect to the smuggling side of things.
Q: Do you have any tips for fleet managers to improve their International RoadCheck experience?
A: I believe fleet managers can improve their experience with RoadCheck and other major road safety initiatives by encouraging improved communication and education priorities with their drivers. I find in many cases the violations and defects we come across roadside are very preventable, and in many cases the operator knew the defect was present when the truck left the yard. In many cases as well, drivers simply are not doing a proper pre-trip inspection of the vehicle when starting their shift and don’t seem surprised when the officer locates the defects on a level 1 or 2 inspection.
Q: What about a tip for drivers?
A: The biggest tip I can offer drivers is this: the daily trip inspection is there for a reason and when properly completed will catch the vast majority of OOS defects long before a law enforcement officer will find them on a traffic stop. These are very preventable in most cases and can be fixed before an officer locates them and places an Out Of Service code on a CVIR.
Q: Do any incidents from your RoadCheck experience stand out in your memory?
A: I don’t have any one single incident specific to RoadCheck that stands out, but from a police collision investigation side of things, collision causing defects come to mind when we investigate CMV involved collisions. Two major defects are brakes out of adjustment leaving a truck unable to stop and killing an innocent person who is stopped in a vehicle ahead of the truck, and drivers falsifying HOS in logs and falling asleep behind the wheel due to fatigue. These are very sad and preventable collisions to deal with from all sides of the investigation including the involved driver. All levels of the industry can take some learning points away from these collisions.
Q: Do you have any final thoughts prior to the annual International RoadCheck?
A: RoadCheck is a major event each year and certainly should not be a surprise to industry stakeholders. Hopefully, we can continue to improve and lower equipment violations and all of us can help improve the safety on our roadways in 2018!
What do the private motor carriers think?
Private Motor Carrier went to a couple members of the industry to get their take on RoadCheck. Here is what they had to say:
I liked the Halton (although it could have been Peel) Police Officers approach of educating rather than just focusing in on the punitive part of their checks. They were running educational seminars in their regions either before or after their RoadChecks. I walked away from that feeling like they were going to make a better impact on those wanting to make a difference and improving road safety, but just didn’t know how or where to make that first step.
David Parsons, Sleeman Breweries Ltd.
The annual Roadcheck is a good reminder to carriers go keep their drivers and fleet legal at all times. It serves as a good measure of the industry’s performance and identifies areas needing improvement. I believe carriers view it as a positive measure of enforcement. We don’t take any special measures leading up to RoadCheckl other than communicating with all drivers when Roadcheck is in action. I’d like to see it take place twice yearly where it would focus on city trucks as well –
and try to target poor performers.
Peter Karellas, Fortigo Freight Services Ltd.