A comparison of the just-released results from International Roadcheck Week shows that hours-of-service (HOS) violations in both the U.S. and Canada rose as a percentage of all violations between 2020 and 2021. 

The data from the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance shows most trends and percentages of violations were roughly in line with where they were during the 2020 checks, with the exception of HOS.

Roadcheck Week, which encompasses the U.S., Canada and Mexico, was held May 4-6. Many drivers stay home to avoid the possibility of an inspection — conventional wisdom that is supported by the rise in the Outbound Tender Rejection Index from FreightWaves’ SONAR, a reflection of capacity. It shows the national OTRI rising significantly during the days of Roadcheck Week. 

To learn more about FreightWaves SONAR, please go here.

In 2020, the vehicle out-of-service (OOS) rate for Level I, Level II and Level V inspections was 20.9%. In this year’s prepared statement issued by CVSA about the results, the organization cast the total data in terms of how many trucks were not taken OOS: 83.5% of all trucks had no violations that resulted in the truck being taken OOS. That would be an OOS rate of 16.5%, improved from last year.

CVSA also broke out data on driver OOS citations, saying it was 5.3% of all dlrivers stopped for inspection this year that were taken OOS. 

The country data does not correlate precisely with the data for the entirety of the three nations, because the total violations differ from the specific data for the nations.

But it shows that among all the violations that put a driver OOS, HOS violations increased to 41.5% of all violations across the three countries, up from 34.7% in 2020.

Prior to Roadcheck Week, the CVSA identifies particular categories of violations that it plans to target in that year’s effort. HOS was one this year, along with lighting. 

But although the HOS percentage of violations shifted significantly across the three countries, the percentage change for HOS violations in the U.S. as a percentage of all driver violations  was minimal. Last year, law enforcement officials cited 999 drivers and took them out of service for HOS violations. That was 32.5% of all OOS driver violations. This year, the total dropped to 832, or 33.6% of all violations. 

The absolute number dropped but the percentage rose in part because law enforcement agencies made fewer inspections this year, dropping to a total figure that the CVSA said was “more than 40,000” across all levels of inspection. Last year, CVSA said the total was “more than 50,000.”

In Canada, HOS violations that resulted in an OOS action fell to 89 violations, or 64% of all driver OOS violations, down from 129 last year, which was 73.7% of all driver OOS violations. 

HOS data on Mexico was not broken out.

Comparisons of the U.S. and Canada regarding HOS are difficult to make on the same basis, at least for now. The U.S. began phasing in the HOS regulation in 2017, with the final rule — the elimination of the grandfather clause that allowed continued use of automatic onboard recording devices — not in place until the end of 2019. The comparison of 2020 to 2021 for the U.S. is therefore on the basis of similar regulations.

But in Canada, a check in May 2021 would be performed about a month before its full HOS rule went into effect as opposed to 2020, when the rule was further away from full implementation. 

Data on Roadcheck Week in other key categories did not show any significant difference beyond both the HOS violations and the fact that the number of vehicles checked this year was about 10,000 fewer than last year.

For OOS violations that took vehicles, as opposed to drivers, off the road, the categories of violations across all three countries did not change their rankings year-to-year: brake system (26.5% of all equipment violations this year), tires (18.6%), lights (14.1%), cargo securement (12.4%) and brake adjustment (12.3%). The percentages did not noticeably shift from the prior year. Even the targeted area of lighting only rose from 13.5%.

That three-nation ranking of violations matched that in the U.S., except for brake adjustment being fourth and cargo securement fifth.

As for driver violations that took drivers off the road across all three countries, HOS was first. After that, the category of wrong class license was second (19.5%), and “other” (which includes driving while fatigued or driving despite the driver’s name being in the Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse) was third at 16.6% — well down from 21.8% last year. After that were false logs (14.7%) and suspended license (4.3%).

The rankings in the U.S. after HOS had wrong class license at 22.3%, “other” at 19.4%, false logs at 16.6% and suspended license at 5.1%.

More articles by John Kingston

Busy month in Louisiana: Another guilty plea in staged accident case

3 more states waive targeted hours-of-service rule for 30 days

2 contracts in 2 weeks: XPO, Teamsters come to agreement in Trenton