If you’re reading this then you are most likely involved in the trucking industry and have dealt with multiple ‘blitz weeks’ over the past few years. Every June the NSC (National Safety Council), DOT (Department of Transportation), and CVSA (Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance) team up to ensure that for a select period (usually a few days during the first week) there is a heightened presence of DOT officers on the road. These officers are on alert to ensure that as many commercial vehicles as possible are pulled into checkpoints for Level 1 roadside inspections. This inspection is a “37-step procedure that includes an examination of both driver operating requirements and vehicle mechanical fitness”, according to the CVSA website (you can find more information here: CVSA Road-check 2018).
I mention the above because we all know and understand that most DOT officers would typically pass a truck with the above violations so long and the driver is polite, the truck is operational/safe to the naked eye, and the drivers logs are on point. As someone in operations I can certainly appreciate this as it helps our safety rating and my stress levels. However, I think it shows a very large issue in this industry involving the color gray.
I get it. We’re all people just trying to get through each day as best we can and as safe as we can (the goal being to make it to the next day!). I also get that John Smith the owner-operator could probably use a break on his reflector tap violation because he has bills to pay and a family to feed. However, if we, as an industry, truly want to be safe, I think that we need to have the mentality of ‘International Road-check Week’ or ‘DOT Blitz Week’ 100% of the time, not .0082% of the time (yes I did the math).