tractor protection systems

It’s time to gear up for the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) International Roadcheck. This year’s 72-hour safety event is set for May 14 – 16. During the Roadcheck, law enforcement personnel will inspect commercial motor vehicles (CMVs) and drivers at weigh stations and inspection stations throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico.

Last year, the CVSA inspected nearly 60,000 CMVs and drivers during the three-day Roadcheck, placing 19.3% of vehicles and 5.8% of drivers out of service (OOS).

This year, CVSA inspectors will focus on these two areas.

1. Tractor protection systems.

Inspectors will look at your vehicle’s tractor protection valve, trailer supply valve and anti-bleed back valve. An inspector will:

  • Direct you to release all brakes by pressing dash valves
  • Ask you to carefully remove the gladhands and allow air to escape
  • Ensure air stops leaking from the supply line with at least 20 psi remaining
  • Listen and/or feel for any leaking air at the gladhand couplers on the trailer
  • Request a full-service brake application
  • Listen and/or feel for leaks from both air lines
To avoid a vehicle OOS violation, test these valves properly during your pre-trip inspections.

2. Alcohol and controlled substance possession.

The possession and use of alcohol and controlled substances remains a significant safety concern for all motorists. The number of prohibited drivers on the U.S. Drug & Alcohol Clearinghouse has been increasing.

During an inspection, law enforcement personnel will:

  • Observe drivers for signs of alcohol or controlled substance use and/or impairment
  • Examine the cab and trailer for alcohol or controlled substances
  • Conduct a Clearinghouse query (U.S. drivers only)

Do not possess or be under the influence of any alcohol or controlled substances. Drivers cannot use alcohol within four hours of coming on duty. Remember that marijuana remains a controlled substance under federal U.S. regulation, and any state legalization is superseded by this. Avoid marijuana and products containing CBD. CBD is unregulated and often contains THC, which may cause a positive drug test.

In addition, drivers should take these steps to avoid the most common reasons for vehicle and driver OOS violations.

  • Conduct a thorough pre-trip inspection. Pay special attention to brake systems, service brakes, tires and lights, four of the top-five vehicle OOS violations in the U.S. last year. Also, make sure all cargo is properly secured. If you find any issues during your pre-trip inspection, file a driver vehicle inspection report (DIVR).
  • Keep your logs up to date and accurate. Hours-of-service violations and false logs were the top two driver OOS violations last year.
  • Make sure your driver’s license is current and always carry your DOT medical card with you.

The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s International Roadcheck is scheduled for May 14-16, and the agency has said inspectors will focus on tractor protection systems. Specifically, inspectors will look at the tractor protection valve, trailer supply valve and anti-bleed back valve, which CVSA said are critically important vehicle components but may be overlooked during trip and roadside inspections.

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