Surviving DOT Week

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Surviving DOT Week

For three days, starting Tuesday, May 17th, 15 vehicle inspections per minute will be carried out by enforcement officials in the US, Canada, and Mexico. Both trucks and drivers are inspected, and an un-roadworthy truck, or a driver that isn’t ELD compliant, won’t be able to continue their journey. The CVSA International Roadcheck, commonly referred to as DOT Week, affects the whole of North America and constitutes the greatest enforcement program
concerning commercial motor vehicles in the world.

Last year, over 40,000 inspections were made. 16.5% of vehicles and 5.3% of drivers had out-of-service violations. This article has detailed how carriers and shippers can avoid the pitfalls of DOT Week, which are summarized below.

DOT Week 2022: What to expect

While most carriers will operate as usual, there will be a number of drivers that will avoid DOT Week altogether and park up their trucks for a few days. A reduction in drivers will increase the chances that a carrier will give back a load. Although local and regional hauls are less likely to be affected, there will be a comparatively higher risk for longer lanes of around 500 to 600 miles. The longer the journey, the higher the chance of being pulled over for an
inspection is.

With many trucks parked up over DOT Week, a decrease in supply, with demand remaining constant, will likely increase the price of spot rates. There is a higher chance that the driver hauling your freight will be pulled over. The majority of inspections are level 1. However, even a level 1 inspection consists of a 37-point inspection.

International Roadcheck covers the whole of North America; all three countries are affected. Therefore, no matter where you are based, or where you freight is coming from, DOT Week is likely to affect you.

Friday the 20th won’t be back to business as usual either. Although there will be some drivers that return on Friday, many will have elected to take the whole week off, therefore supply will remain lower than normal. Furthermore, drivers and trucks that have been found in violation from inspections will also be out of action. The backlog caused by delays from Tuesday to Thursday will then roll over to Friday’s board.

How Shippers Can Mitigate DOT Week Disruption

Try to be as accommodating as possible. It’s not the driver’s fault if they are delayed due to an inspection, so expect that there will be delays and work this into your schedule. Don’t be surprised if your unable to fulfil your dock compared to a normal week. Only undertake realistic schedules and make sure that your transits are DOT compliant.

If your shipment can wait until next week, then it makes sense to delay it as spot rates will be lower. If the shipment is time-critical and has to go that week, communicate effectively with drivers to let them know what the pay arrangement is if they get delayed. Drivers will be at a premium during DOT Week because of lower supply, so having a fair, clearly stated policy will make it easier to attract drivers in a competitive market.

Be prepared for the worst, but remember that although DOT Week does cause disruption, the majority of freight is unaffected. Delays are annoying, but the entire supply chain won’t ground to a halt.

With over 40,000 inspections carried out over 3 days, allow for extra time and factor this into
your schedule. If your driver is delayed, then contact your customers. An email the week

Before explaining the situation could go along way. People are likely to be far more understanding if they recognize this is not a delay of your making.

The inspectors have a job to do, and it makes it a lot easier if your drivers are polite and respectful. Then, they’ll be back on their way as soon as possible. Make sure all your vehicles and drivers are compliant. This is good practice all year round, but if you know everything is in order, then there is nothing to fear.

And remember: DOT Week can be used to your advantage. Lower supply will likely result in higher spot rates, plus you’ll be recognized as a trustworthy carrier by continuing operations.

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