Three Trailer Tips for Acing CVSA’s International Roadcheck

man and women standing near a flatbed trailer loaded with pipes

Another winter has passed, along with frigid winds and salt-dusted highways that tested the most experienced drivers. However, fleets must pass one more test before cruising into the summer season—the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA’s) International Roadcheck, scheduled for May 14–16 of this year. 

Nearly two million vehicles have been inspected since the first International Roadcheck was held 35 years ago. Last year, the safety inspections resulted in 12,456 commercial vehicles taken out of service (OOS), mainly due to problems with brake systems, tires, defective service brakes, lights, and cargo securement. 

According to Ross Froat, Vice President of Product and Strategy at FleetPulse, trailers tend to be at fault for many of these violations since trailers are often inspected only about once per year. Froat offered the following tips to ensure the trailers in your fleet are in the best possible operating condition during inspection.

1. Trust in Technology

Fleets that have invested in telematics technologies like FleetPulse, the standard telematics offering on Great Dane trailers, have a leg up on fleets that haven’t. For instance, FleetPulse connects with a trailer’s automatic tire inflation system (ATIS) sensors, providing tire inflation when needed and alerting fleets of unstable tire pressure when a problem is detected. This is a significant benefit, particularly because tire violations made up 18.5% of all OOS violations during last year’s International Roadcheck.

“We estimate up to 102,000 OOS violations in 2022 could have been prevented if the trailers that were cited had a smart trailer system connected with ATIS,” Froat says. “Tire issues are the top vehicle OOS violation compared to brakes, lights, and cargo securement.” 

Understanding the basics of trailer tire maintenance, including load ratings, sizes, and the importance of proper inflation, can significantly enhance the performance of a trailer’s cargo-carrying capabilities while maximizing uptime and keeping you from receiving a violation.

FleetPulse constantly monitors and creates metrics reports for more than 50 different elements on a fleet’s trailers. Regularly reviewing these insights is not only a great predictive maintenance strategy but can also increase fleet uptime and unlock new business efficiencies.

2. Take Flatbed Securement Seriously

Froat says that flatbed trailers have cargo securement violations more often than other types, mainly because this style of trailer has many ways to secure cargo.

“Cargo securement is always listed on the top five CVSA International Roadcheck OOS violations at a rate above 10%. This shows us that one out of every ten trucks given an OOS violation during the International Roadcheck in 2022 was driving unsafe due to loose cargo,” Froat says.

Great Dane’s Freedom flatbeds are equipped with load securement options to withstand the toughest road conditions. Features like heavy-duty side rails, pipe spools, stake pockets, and rub rails provide strength and flexibility. Additional securement features, such as twist locks, rope ties, D-rings, and pull-up chain ties, are among the options we give our customers for exceptional versatility. 

“There are many variations of products that are typically transported on flatbed trailers, and each product has certain requirements that the DOT has established regarding the type of load, the weight of the load, etc.,” says Keith Monroe, Great Dane’s Director of Flatbed Division. “Avoiding violations means avoiding improper load securement due to having an insufficient amount of straps or chains, damaged straps or improper anchor points.”

Are you interested in seeing your options? Click here to view Great Dane’s many load securement choices.

3. Find an Inspection Pattern that Works for You 

Driving away from the CVSA’s International Roadcheck without a violation doesn’t necessarily require you to inspect your trailers more often than you are regulated to do so. However, the beauty of spec’ing telematics equipment like FleetPulse-utilizing smart trailers is that it can potentially be inspected once per day through the FleetPulse platform when parked, and every five minutes while driving.

FleetPulse goes beyond compliance, providing fleets confidence in their trailers before connecting a tractor and always while driving.” 

— Ross Froat, Vice President of Product and Strategy, FleetPulse

With a little help from today’s telematics technology and a bit of proactive work, you can help ensure your fleet’s trailers will never be the reason for OOS violation-related downtime.

Pull Over

Here’s a bonus tip for any time a driver encounters a roadside enforcement facility, whether it’s related to a CVSA event or not: If it’s been a while, either in time or mileage, since the vehicle’s last pre-trip inspection, it might be a good time to find parking and check the vehicle one more time. With FleetPulse, monitoring trailer health on the road is a snap. 

“FleetPulse provides complete vehicle health monitoring in real time,” says Froat. Request an onboard system check and keep driving with confidence.” 

FleetPulse Is for More Than Just Predictive Maintenance

FleetPulse is an exceptional tool for sustaining uptime, but Great Dane is always expanding its data-driven abilities. Earlier this year, FleetPulse and Thermo King announced a telematics partnership for a complete smart reefer trailer. This is important to fleets interested in lean fleet management, tracking cold-chain visibility, and reducing downtime from reefer system failures or trailer safety component failures.