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CTA questions value of Roadcheck

The results of Roadcheck 2006, the Canadian component of the annual North American truck inspection blitz, have been released by the Canadian Council of Motor Transport Administrators and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA). The numbers show that the mechanical fitness of trucks inspected during the annual blitz is in line with a positive 10-year trend: the out-of-service rate this year is marginally higher than it was in 2005, but better than the 2004 level.

A total of 7,384 trucks were inspected in Canada over the three-day blitz that took place June 6-8. This year, 79.7% of vehicles passed the CVSA inspection process, compared with 81.4% in 2005 and 78.3% in 2004. The out-of-service rate for drivers inspected in Canada — reflecting logbook or other documentation problems — remained less than 4%.

David Bradley, chief executive officer of the Canadian Trucking Alliance, questions the value of a one-week blitz. "Safety should be a 365-days-a-year pre-occupation," he said. "There is a school of thought that roadside inspections are less effective as a compliance tool than facility audits. More recent research suggests there should be more focus on driving behavior by all drivers than on the mechanical condition of trucks.”

Bradley also said the industry has long questioned the methodology used during Roadcheck. First, while CVSA states that vehicles are selected randomly, no statistics are kept on the number of vehicles waved through an inspection station and considered “passed” due to the presence of a valid CVSA inspection decal.

Moreover, the industry questions the linkage between out-of-service rates recorded and real-life safety performance. An out-of-service condition can occur for minor infractions: something as simple as a burned-out signal light bulb.

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