How DOT Week Affects Your Fleet Network
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s International Roadcheck (commonly referred to as DOT Week or DOT Blitz) hits North American highways at midnight, June 4th. Every year enforcement officials conduct thousands of commercial vehicle inspections during a 72-hour window.
DOT Week is the largest targeted enforcement program on commercial motor vehicles in the world. Over the course of three days (June 4-6), enforcement officials in the U.S., Canada and Mexico will conduct an average of 17 vehicle inspections per minute (67,603 in 2018, a 9% increase from 2017).1
Pretty much everything about trucks and drivers gets inspected, including ELD compliance, tire treads, breaks, exhausts, suspensions, lights and more. The most common are Level I inspections (you read the exact details from the CVSA here).
Each year has an inspection focus, which is usually determined by what got the most infractions during the previous year. Hours-of-Service compliance was the focus in 2018. This year, inspectors will place an emphasis on steering and suspension systems.
Last year more than 21% of commercial motor vehicles (just shy of 12,000 trucks)2 were placed out of service for violations. The biggest reasons why were brake system, tire and brake adjustment conditions, so the CVSA is focusing on steering and suspension systems for 2019.
Four Ways Carriers Can Successfully Navigate DOT Week
1) Anticipate Delays
With an average of 17 inspections every minute3, you should budget extra time wherever possible. If your drivers are delayed, be proactive in reaching out to your customers.
2) Encourage Your Drivers to Be Polite
No one likes getting pulled over for a vehicle inspection but being friendly and respectful to officials goes a long way.
3) Take Advantage of Available Freight
To avoid the hassle of potential inspections, many drivers don’t like to run during DOT week, creating more opportunity for carriers who do hit the road. There is a chance for more available freight at relatively higher spot rates, plus running during the inspection period shows customers that you are a trustworthy carrier.
4) Treat Every Week Like DOT Week
The best way to prepare for inspections is to always be ready for them. One of our network carriers, Cornelius Leasing Systems in Colorado, takes this approach with great success.
Being a small fleet, I am also our “safety and compliance” guy, so I remind the drivers to check things they might skip in-between routine services—brake adjustments are a big one. We’re always prepared though. My main lane is Colorado to Texas and back (Texas is very active in DOT enforcement) so every week feels like DOT Week for us.”
- Shane, Cornelius Leasing Systems
We encourage all carriers in our network to drive safely and make sure that your trucks are always up to compliance standards. For those who are prepared, DOT Week 2019 can offer great opportunities to get more freight.
Want more tips to keep your truck full year-round?