This year’s annual Road Check of trucks in Mexico, the United States, and Canada is set for May 16 to 18, 2023 and while it doesn’t directly affect vehicles in the UK and Europe it’s a good reminder to always keep safety standards in mind. We hope you have kept up your equipment and don’t end up with Out of Service orders. Officers will conduct inspections on thousands of trucks across North America, let’s take a look at how they run this 3 day operation.
This year the obvious focus is on cargo securement and anti-lock brake systems (ABS). There seems to be an unrelenting urge by truck drivers to adjust self-adjusting brake slack adjusters manually and that can be hazardous to drivers’ health, not to mention other drivers. Self-adjusting slack adjusters must only be checked and adjusted by certified technicians. Adjustments performed by truck drivers who are not certified technicians may result in overheating brakes and rendering antilock brake systems inoperative, and that can lead to a devastating crash. If you suspect your slack adjusters to be out of adjustments, head straight for a service shop where your brakes will be inspected and adjusted if necessary. It’s not like the old days when we all had to crawl under the truck with wrench in hand and could easily and accurately adjust our slack adjusters. But that was before we had automatic slack adjusters. Resist the urge to do it yourself.
Cargo securement will also be looked at closely. And we’re not just talking about chained flatbed loads. Dry vans and reefers will be scrutinised as well. It is easy to become complacent when securing cargo. If you’re not sure your flatbed load is secure, add an extra chain or two. The time it takes is worth it for your health because being unsure of your load security you expose yourself to undue stress with every mile you cover. And as a truck driver you surely don’t need to add to the stress you are under, especially the risk of a deadly crash on account of unsecured freight.
Dry van and reefer drivers need to carry extra load bars and load straps. This is especially true for less than truckload (LTL) drivers who make multiple pickups and drops. An orphan pallet of freight must be placed against a trailer wall and secured with load bars not just at the rear, but also at the side where no freight can brace it. Failure to do so can damage freight and cost both the fleet and shipper and may even cause the loss of your occupation. Better safe than sorry.
Of course, pre and post daily inspections are incredibly important. The problem is, after time a driver can become complacent and tired of the routine, ignoring checks. Your daily inspections must be considered the only buffer you have against danger. You must never take them lightly. They are an opportunity to invest in your safety and that of others on the motorways. Dig in and do your inspections with open eyes, diligence, and care. And doing so can save you and the fleet from an out of service violation.
As always, take care and drive safely. Happy motoring with reduced stress.