A Melton truck with a secured load parked in front of a mountain

What You Need to Know for DOT Blitz Week 2024

Every year from May through June, carriers across North America are audited for their adherence to government rules and regulations in regard to commercial vehicles. These audits are overseen by the CVSA – the Commercial Vehicle Safety Administration, a close companion to the FMCSA – the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

In 2024, DOT Blitz Week is slotted for May 14th – 16th.

What is Law Enforcement Looking for During Blitz Week?

During Blitz Week, Roadchecks are conducted across North America by partnering with local law enforcement and CMV inspectors at various weight stations, inspection stations, roaming patrols, and temporary checkpoints.

During the 72- hour window, drivers are flagged down and checked for compliance and vehicle maintenance across many areas. Some key points that are checked are:

  • Driver credentials
  • Hours of Service
  • Proper permits
  • Drug/alcohol impairment
  • Vehicle maintenance, including brakes, engines, lights, fuel systems, and cargo securement (when applicable)

While some inspections may try to cover a majority of these items, the overall goal is to narrow down these inspections to about two main items of focus each year. In 2024, the focus will be on the use of, possession of, or presence of controlled substances and alcohol, as well as tractor protection systems.

Despite these two items being highlighted, drivers should always be prepared to be assessed in all other areas regarding their equipment.

 

What Penalties Can Be Assessed to a Driver and Their Company?

During Roadchecks, if a driver is found to be non-compliant, three actions are taken:

The driver, and freight they are hauling, will have their load halted until these violations are corrected.

Whether it’s defects found in brake lines or being outside the HOS regulations, law enforcement will hold drivers until these discrepancies are fixed.

If a driver is found to be in violation, a full-scale inspection will take place.

As mentioned before, it’s important for a driver and carrier to be prepared to be examined across multiple fields, despite what the primary focus of a Blitz Week is. If a member of the inspection team finds any unsafe practices – either on paper or in equipment – the driver will be asked to halt their progress to complete a full inspection, and hold them until those violations are corrected.

Drivers who are found to be non-compliant are given an Out of Service (OOS) violation.

An OOS violation directly impacts a carrier’s CSA scores and can reduce both the driver’s and their company’s overall safety ‘rating’. On a driver level, these scores are individualized and the violations a driver incurs can remain on the driver’s CSA scorecard for three years. This can come with increased inspection scrutiny if they continue to drive, or could limit their job opportunities within the industry. Their company’s overall safety rating will also be impacted.

How Does Blitz Week Affect Freight?

Companies looking to book freight during Blitz Week may expect delays in receiving their items, especially if their driver is held for long periods of time. Carriers can expect that they will have ‘fewer’ trucks on the road during Blitz Week.

Melton truck with a load secured by straps

How Can Drivers and Companies Prepare?

During Blitz Week, one of the top priorities every driver and carrier alike should plan for is downtime and delays. It’s not uncommon for inspections to take some time, whether that’s during the inspection itself, or by waiting in line for these inspections to take place.

So, when planning loads that may travel throughout this period, add at least a day to your load planning/trip planning process to ensure you’ve got enough wiggle room to still meet your company’s needs and your client’s expectations.

Another important thing drivers should be doing is ramping up their pre-trip inspections. Checking the items that are focused on during Blitz Week is important, but ensuring you are taking the time to review all systems thoroughly and schedule maintenance in advance if you think it’s necessary.

At Melton, our top priority is moving freight as safely as possible. Our pre-hire evaluation covers everything you’ll need to know to pass your CVSA Roadcheck, and more. If you’re interested in shipping freight with a flatbed carrier who puts safety above everything else, view our flatbed shipping services page here.

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