In a discussion paper recently submitted to the CVSA, the CTA insisted that anytime a commercial vehicle is required to enter a truck inspection station or is stopped by a mobile enforcement unit - even if it is only a quick check, or what the enforcement community calls a "screen" or "triage" inspection to make sure the driver and vehicle are safe to continue down the road - an inspection should be deemed to have taken place and be recorded on the carrier's profile as a passed inspection.
CTA, a federation of the provincial trucking associations representing about 4,500 Canadian motor carriers, says it is sensitive to CVSA's desire to use state and provincial inspection resources most efficiently by attempting to select for more thorough inspection (CVSA level I, II or III) those carriers/vehicle/drivers most likely to have deficiencies. However, it says the systems used to rate carriers, such as CSA in the United States or provincial carrier monitoring systems in Canada, must accurately reflect a carrier's inspection performance in a true context of exposure. To do this, it is critical that all inspections, including screen/triage inspections, are documented, says the trucking alliance.
In its submission, CTA cites an example of a carrier, whose trucks operate mainly along a major highway and which therefore have a high rate of exposure to a truck inspection station - around say 100 a day. Of those 100 trucks, 98 are screened/triaged and then sent on their way to destination. leaving only two subject to further inspection. Of the two trucks that undergo a CVSA level 1, II or III inspection, one passes with no out-of-service defects and one has defects. Because CVSA currently only tracks inspections that generate reports, the out-of-service rate for the carrier on paper for that day is 50 percent. In reality, CTA argues, the failure rate should be 1 percent, because 99 of the company's 100 trucks were deemed fit and sent down the road.
CTA estimates that in Canada about 96 of every 100 trucks that are "screen/triaged" are sent on their way without any documentation or recording of the event - an important statistic and one that should be reflected when reporting on the safety and mechanical fitness of the industry.
While some enforcement personnel argue that a "screen/triage" inspection is simply that, a significant amount of intelligence is gathered on the driver and the vehicle, CTA says. It argues many of the fundamentals of driver and vehicle inspections found in CVSA Level 1, 2 & 3 inspections are performed in that short period of time and that CVSA-trained officers interact with trucks and drivers 24/7, 365 days a year. They are professionals and know what they are looking at.
CTA acknowledges importance of the screen/triage inspections in keeping the flow of truck traffic moving through the inspection stations. The more formal CVSA inspections require an estimated 15-20 minutes to generate an inspection report, so drivers and carriers would not support a protocol that would have their trucks sitting for longer periods of time simply to generate a piece of paper. The alliance is not calling for the end of screen/triage inspections,but contends there has to be a way to efficiently collect the information on screen/triage inspections while still maintaining efficient flow of commercial vehicles through the inspection process.