Truckers report closed scale houses, light enforcement during Roadcheck blitz

Image: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

Image: Jim Allen/FreightWaves

Guest post by FreightWaves’ Clarissa Hawes

The International Roadcheck inspection blitz kicked off earlier this week in North America, but some U.S. truckers reported that scale houses in some states were closed or they were waved through the scales because inspectors were busy reviewing other commercial vehicles.

Truck driver Joel Morrow ran through approximately 10 states during Roadcheck June 4-6, and said he “literally saw nothing.”

None of the scale houses were open, it was lighter than normal,” Morrow, director of research and development of Ploger Transportation of Norwalk, Ohio, told FreightWaves. “I called a couple of my friends and asked them if they were seeing anything. We started kicking around the idea that they were just going to wait on all these guys that were sitting at home last week.”

His family’s trucking business of around 50 trucks is headquartered in Norwalk, Connecticut, has a dedicated account with Pepperidge Farm and also hauls high-end furniture.

Morrow said Ploger has a very aggressive preventative maintenance program and that every truck is rolled through the shop and inspected every week.

“We have a very good safety rating so I know we get green-lighted around a lot of this stuff, so maybe that played a part in it,” Morrow said. “It wouldn’t surprise me if there was heavier enforcement than typical next week.”

Approximately 9,000 inspectors in North America were expected to inspect commercial vehicles and drivers during the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s annual enforcement blitz scheduled for June 4-6.

Trucker Alec Costerus of Stonegate, Colorado, said the only state he saw heavy enforcement last week was on U.S. Route 287 in Oklahoma.

“Inspectors were out there in force, but when I pulled into the scale, they were all busy, so they waved me on through,” Costerus, who is leased to Landstar, told FreightWaves. “That was the only scale I saw open. It was pretty much a non-event for me.”

Costerus said he made sure his truck was ready prior to the inspection blitz.

“If you aren’t ready for an inspection, you shouldn’t be out here driving,” he said.

None of the 57 trucks in Adcock Transportation’s fleet were dinged during last week’s Roadcheck. Adcock is a car hauling company based out of Manheim, Pennsylvania.

“The blitz did what it was designed to do,” John Blobner, senior vice president of logistics for Adcock, told FreightWaves. “We spent some extra time making sure our trucks were ready.”

Inspectors were focusing on motor carriers’ steering and suspension systems during this year’s Roadcheck.

Last year, CVSA inspectors handed out 537 steering-related violations and 286 commercial vehicles were placed out-of-service (OOS). There were 500 suspension violations and 538 suspension-related OOS citations issued.

Henry Albert of Albert Transport Inc. of Huntersville, North Carolina, said a lot of scale houses in the Midwest, including Iowa, Missouri and Indiana, weren’t open during the days of the blitz when he passed by.

“I am sure there are some scales that ramp it up more than others, but I really didn’t see where this blitz was – the majority of the scales were closed,” Albert told FreightWaves.

Joe Rajkovacz, director of governmental affairs for the Western States Trucking Association, said he has not heard from any of its members about the inspection blitz.

“Nothing, it’s business as usual in California,” Rajkovacz told FreightWaves.

In 2018, 67,603 total inspections took place with 21.6 percent of all inspected motor vehicles and 3.9 percent of drivers placed OOS. Last year, hours-of-service (HOS) compliance was the focus of Roadcheck and 43.7 percent of all drivers placed OOS were because of a HOS violation.

Out-of-service orders negatively affect a motor carrier’s Compliance, Safety, Accountability (CSA) score.

Roadcheck is a CVSA program with participation by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators, Transport Canada and Secretaría de Comunicaciones y Transportes (SCT) [Ministry of Communications and Transportation] of Mexico.