Roadcheck 2015.

Roadcheck is an annual event sponsored by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), North America’s leading commercial vehicle enforcement organization. Within a 3-day period, 10,000 CVSA and FMCSA inspectors conduct roadside inspections at more than 1,500 locations. The goal of this event is to increase safety and security on the highways and reduce the number of crashes involving commercial vehicles.

All commercial motor vehicles (trucks, buses, and motorcoaches), plus all CMV drivers of those vehicles, could be subject to a roadside inspection.

The event begins at midnight on June 2 and runs for 72 straight hours — JUNE 2-4.

Last year, during Roadcheck 2014, 23% of all the vehicles inspected were placed out of service. Nearly 1 in 4 vehicles!

• Total inspections — 73,475
• Vehicle out-of-service rate — 23%
Cargo securement violations in relation to all OOS violations — 11.5%
Brake-related violations in relation to all vehicle OOS violations — 46.2%
• Driver out-of-service rate — 4.8%
• Seatbelt violations issued — 825

That’s just a sampling of last year’s results.

To help ensure your vehicles and drivers are prepared to pass a comprehensive inspection, such as Roadcheck 2015, we’ve gathered some of our top educational choices from safety expert J.J. Keller that can help you protect your safety reputation, CSA BASIC scores, and bottom line.


The Cargo Securement Handbook for Drivers provides need-to-know securement guidelines on proper use of blocks, ropes, chains, bars, and more for flatbeds, dry vans, reefers and other widely used types of trailers.
Cargo Securement Handbook for Drivers

“Cargo Securement Handbook for Drivers”

The CSA Handbook – A Complete Guide for CMV Drivers is the only handbook that covers all information CMV interstate truck and bus drivers need to operate successfully under CSA. Provides fingertip access to explanations of the seven BASICs, severity tables, and tips for avoiding the most common violations. Explains how to prepare for roadside inspections, rights during inspection, what not to do, and steps to take after inspection.

CSA Handbook - A Complete Guide for CMV Drivers

“CSA Handbook – A Complete Guide for CMV Drivers”


Out of Service Criteria Handbook and Pictorial Edition identifies Critical Vehicle Inspection Items following a roadside inspection. Details criteria that can prohibit a motor carrier or operator from driving or operating a commercial motor vehicle for a specified period of time or until the condition is corrected. Includes a full set of CVSA Inspection Schematics.

Out of Service Criteria Handbook and Pictorial Edition

Out of Service Criteria Handbook and Pictorial Edition


Roadside Inspections: A Driver’s Guide – DVD Training is specifically tailored for drivers and carriers to help them pass roadside inspections, and covers the following topics:
– Roadside inspections – who conducts them and why
– The Six Levels of Inspections
– How drivers should prepare for a roadside inspection
– How drivers should prepare their vehicles for a roadside inspection
– How drivers should conduct themselves during a roadside inspection
– CVSA out-of-service criteria
– Results and consequences of a failed roadside inspection

Roadside Inspections - A Driver's Guide. DVD Training

Roadside Inspections – A Driver’s Guide. DVD Training


Are your vehicles inspection-ready? And your drivers, too? If not, either or both could be placed out of service. And that can lead to a multitude of negative consequences, including delayed shipments, lost revenue, a tarnished company image, loss of customers, DOT penalties, and a hit to your CSA BASIC scores.

Are your vehicles and drivers ready for Roadcheck 2015? Let us know what your biggest challenges are this year in our comments section below.

Copyright 2015 J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc. Copied with permission

How Does CSA Affect Small Carriers?

 The size of the carrier is not a factor in deciding which carriers the FMCSA will investigate, but size is a factor in how carrier scores are calculated.

The first question that comes up in many discussions is, “What is CSA and what does it do?”

Despite all of the folklore that has been built around it, at its core, CSA (Compliance, Safety, Accountability) is simply a program used by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to track and evaluate carriers based on compliance and crash history. Carriers that do not score well in the system are the ones FMCSA will spend time warning or investigating.

How the scoring works
The scoring in the system is based on roadside inspections, violations listed on roadside inspection reports, and crash reports. Violations are “valued” based on severity and time. The severity of a violation is based on its relationship to crash causation. Severity weighting uses a 1 to 10 scale, with 10 being violations that have the closest relationship to crash causation.

The time factor involves multiplying the severity of a violation by a “time weight.” The severity for any event (inspection, violation, or crash) that has occurred in the last 6 months is multiplied by 3. If the event took place between 6 and 12 months ago, it is multiplied by 2. Events that took place between 12 and 24 months ago are multiplied by 1. Events over 24 months old are not used in the scoring.

In most of the Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories (BASICs), the total of all severity- and time-weighted violations is divided by the time-weighted inspections a carrier has undergone. This results in a “BASIC Measure” that reflects a “violation rate per inspection,” with severity and time factors considered.

Two of the BASICs, Unsafe Driving and Crash, use a different process for calculating the measures. It involves dividing the total of all severity- and time-weighted violations by the company’s power unit count that has been multiplied by a utilization factor. The utilization factor is based on the carrier’s average miles per power unit. The power unit count and mileage are taken from the carrier’s MCS-150s that have been on file over the last 18 months.

Once the BASIC Measures have been calculated, they are compared to other carriers’ BASIC Measures.

To start this comparison process, carriers are placed into “Safety Event Groups” in all of the BASICs. Depending on the BASIC, the groups are based on the number of violations, inspections, or crashes. The result is that small carriers are compared to small carriers and large carriers are compared to large carriers. The carrier with the best (lowest) measure in each group gets a “percentile rank,” or BASIC Score, of “0.” The carrier with the worst (highest) measure in the group gets a BASIC Score of “100.” All other carriers in the group will have a score in between these two extremes based on their BASIC Measure.

Carriers that do not perform well are the ones that are placed on the “intervention list,” and can expect the FMCSA to take action against them. The action can include a warning or an investigation.

Because the system uses DOT numbers as its basis, if you are an owner-operator operating under your own DOT number, all inspections and violations are scored directly against your DOT number. If you are leased onto another carrier and operate under that DOT number, your inspections and violations are scored under that DOT number.

There are ‘minimums’
Each of the BASICs has minimum standards; that is, inspections, violations, and crashes, to be scored. If the carrier does not have enough data in a BASIC, the carrier is not scored in that BASIC. Here is a table that explains what is required in each BASIC to receive a score.

Data requirements
All three criteria below, where applicable, must be met before a BASIC score (percentile) will be assigned.

BASIC Min. # of inspections/crashes in past 24 months Min. # of violations/crashes in past 12 months Min. # of violations recorded during latest relevant inspection
Unsafe Driving 3 inspections 1 violation 0
Drug & Alcohol 1 inspection 1 violation 0
HOS Compliance 3 inspections 1 violation 1
Driver Fitness 5 inspections 1 violation 1
Vehicle Maintenance 5 inspections 1 violation 1
HM Compliance 5 inspections 1 violation 1
Crash Indicator 2 crashes 1 crash


These standards are why many small carriers, including one-truck owner-operators, are not scored in most or all BASICs. They either do not have enough inspections or violations to receive a score.

Drivers are separate
The driver scoring system is different. All drivers are scored in the Driver Safety Measurement System, which works basically the same as the carrier system discussed above. The differences are that drivers are not held responsible for certain technical violations and the driver system uses a different time weighting.

In the driver scoring system, drivers are scored independently of the carriers. It does not make any difference what carrier the driver is working for when the inspection and/or violation occurs.

Driver scores are completely confidential and they are only used by FMCSA investigators when investigating carriers. Part of the carrier investigation process is to review the carrier’s drivers’ BASIC scores, and investigate the drivers that have high scores.

How do I make my BASIC scores better?
The easiest way to get better BASIC Scores (as a carrier or as a driver) is to get good inspections. In five of the BASICs, this will make an immediate difference due to the “violation free” inspections being used directly in the math. In the other two BASICs (Unsafe Driving and Crash), good inspections do not help in the math, but they don’t hurt you either since there is no violation to bring into the BASICs for scoring.

What’s the challenge with being a small carrier?
The challenge is, once a small carrier gets a score, the carrier does not have a broad base of inspections over which to “spread” the violations. The result is that each violation has a significant impact on the carrier’s BASIC Measures, and therefore scores. The Safety Event Groups used in the comparison process help even this out, but only to a certain point. In most BASICs, the smallest Safety Event Groups are based on 3 to 10 inspections or 5 to 10 inspections. One violation spread over 3 inspections has quite a different impact than one violation spread over 10 inspections.

Also, small carriers are not likely to see an increase in inspections due to increased BASIC Scores, so getting good inspections to offset high scores is difficult. Large carriers that have high scores will see an increase in inspections, and if they can pass them they can actually see their scores lowered fairly quickly.

So what is the biggest challenge with being a small carrier as far as CSA is concerned? Once you get a bad score, it is hard to get it to come down. What’s the solution to this challenge? Avoid violations in the first place. This can be done by being aggressive with maintenance and inspection, and keeping your credentials and log current at all times.

About Ryder Fleet Products:
Ryder Fleet Products provides a wide range of truck parts, shop supplies & safety items for the medium and heavy duty truck industry at prices much lower than retail. And we offer FREE shipping for orders over $250. Find a part number, cross reference a part, or ask a question by contacting our customer service team at 855.885.5631 or

Thomas Bray is an editor in the Transportation Publishing Department of the Editorial Resource Unit at J.J. Keller & Associates, Inc, specializing in motor carrier safety and operations management

Copyright 2013 J. J. Keller & Associates, Inc.        Copied with permission

This article first appeared on HDT/,, is the website of Heavy Duty Trucking


FMCSA Website Update: Safety Measurement System

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is a data-driven safety enforcement and compliance program that works to improve the safety of America’s trucking industry.  In November, FMCSA launched a preview of its proposed, enhanced Safety Measurement System (SMS) website. The new site’s goal is to provide easy access to detailed trucking industry information and new performance monitoring tools. FMCSA’s ultimate goal is to achieve a reduction in crashes, injuries and fatalities, while making efficient use of available resources.

The improved site will help carriers and the public efficiently identify safety problems and get updated safety performance data.  The agency uses this data to determine which carriers pose a risk and need to be investigated.  In 2012, the SMSM public website hosted close to 48 million users, up from 30 million the previous year. The enhancements will not modify or change the SMS methodology but will enhance users understanding of the collected data, with no need for users to visit multiple sites.  The new features are based on feedback received from enforcement, industry and other safety stakeholders.

The key changes consist of the following:

  • Overall BASIC status will show where a carrier ranks and their correlation to crash rates.
  • Take-A-Tour Feature highlights enhancements to the SMS display and show visitors how to use the site.
  • Showcase of every carriers’ safety event group, the comparative groups used to calculate carrier BASIC percentile ranking.
  • Carriers’ Measure will be highlighted to help users clearly identify performance trends over time. The measure is based on computational results of the carrier’s roadside inspections or crashes.
  • Current insurance and authority status included directly on the site. Previously, users had to access FMCSA’s licensing and insurance online website to view this.
  • Carriers’ enforcement case history, including the date the case was closed, the applicable violations and the associated fines.

It’s important to note the site is being improved gradually and is based on user input, data and technology.  The preview site provides a overview of proposed changes.  After reviewing the site yourself, submit feedback via fax 202-493-2251 or visit (follow online instructions for submitting comments).  The deadline to submit comments ends January 6, 2014.  FMSCA will redesign the site with proposed changes before they are released to the public.

Important Links:

Current Safety Measurement System website

Preview of the SMS Site

Federal Register Posting  (November 5, 2013)

SMS results update schedule

FMSCA’s Guidance Document

Helpful Details on the New FMCSA Electronic On-Board Recorder Rule

There is a new rule that the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) is working on publishing this year that would require all truck drivers to use an Electronic On-Board Recorder (EOBR) or Electronic Logging Device (ELD).   The publication of the new rule is expected to be public on November 18, 2013 and will accept comments until January 20, 2014.  The law requires drivers to start using EOBR within two years after the rule is issued.

What is an EOBR?

An EOBR is an electronic device attached to a commercial motor vehicle, which is used to record the amount of time a vehicle is being driven.  EOBR’s can monitor and record data about the vehicle and its driver. The electronic driver logs also track a driver’s hours of service and electronic driver vehicle inspection reports track speeding, idling and hard braking. They also integrate map and route solutions as well, which can help drivers.  The EOBR is attached to a commercial vehicle’s engine to capture speed, distance and location.

How Much Does an EOBR Cost?

The FMCSA originally estimated in 2011 that the average carrier would likely spend $1,500 to $2,000 per CMV based on Qualcomm’s Mobile Computing Platform (MCP) 150, which costs approximately $1,775.   However, Qualcomm recently introduced an updated version, called the MCP 50 which retails around $889.  Other vendors are promoting EOBR’s at an even lower price and some include smart phone applications of the device.   JJ Keller also has a whole section of EOBR’s and ELD’s.

What About Hours of Service?

To make the changes easier on fleets and drivers, many Electronic On-Board Recorder manufacturers are designing them as an hours of service and compliance solution.  They have updated their software to comply with new alerts, visibility tools, and remote access options.

Overall, the device should help provide better roadside inspections, fuel efficiency, CSA score improvement, improved time management, and protection from DOT audits.  EOBR’s automate electronic in-cab loggings and performance reporting.  For more information regarding this new rule, visit the FMCSA’s EOBR’s Frequently Asked Questions Page.