Far be it for me to be the "voice of reason" in the ever-growing world of compliance within the trucking industry. I was always under the assumption that I was expected to run compliant and legal at all times as a truck operator, not just during a 72-hour window every year! This was the first year that I had actually heard the phrase "Roadcheck Vacation" used in a very literal sense while skimming through a post in the Star-Telegram.
The reality of how industry-wide this problem might just be hit me when my number one broker was apologizing to me for not getting back to me all day, citing the unexpected extra workload he was facing because of the Roadcheck as the principle reason. To hear that he had so many carriers in his Dallas, Texas operating area simply chose not to run during that 72-hour inspection period just struck me as completely ludicrous. He actually had so many carriers not operating on one of his dedicated accounts that the first day of Roadcheck 2016 cost him about $5000 worth of loads. Now that the commotion has subsided over the whole thing, I am starting to see a few stories about how this type of thing could lead to more unsafe trucks on the road in the long run, being that some of the trucks that need OOS violations are not even on the road to be inspected.
It makes sense to me that this could become a problem with the potential to grow very large. If this escalating trend continues, many unfit carriers may continue to park trucks during the announced Roadcheck blitz every year. Whether it is improperly licensed drivers, or equipment that is in poor condition, it is unfair that these people get to continue operating in this fashion while legitimately safe carriers face the gauntlet year after year. I do not want to have to conduct my business every day out on the roadways with these unfit carriers and their equipment littering our highways with their disregard for safety, let alone the obvious fact that I do not want them on the road with my wife and kids driving around either!
I applaud each and every driver and owner-operator out there who continued to operate safely through Roadcheck 2016, even though they knew that enforcement would be beefed-up in all areas. In all my years of driving, I have always operated under the assumption that every day should be "Blitz Day"! Dodging scales and always having to be on the lookout for DOT is never going to be a good choice in becoming a successful trucking company! Not that I am for secrecy as a useful measure, but perhaps the advanced notification of this entire road check every year should be done away with, in an effort to help curb this so-called Roadcheck vacation problem. Not knowing about this event in advance just might be the only way to get the carriers off the road that should not be on the road at all! Until then I will continue operating with safety as a top priority every day, which I urge all of my fellow drivers and owner-operators out there to continue to do as well!