DOT Week 2024: What To Know About Blitz Week This May

If you’re a shipper wondering how this year’s Commercial Vehicle Safety Administration (CVSA) International Roadcheck will impact your freight, you’re in the right place. Every year at this time, the CVSA’s Roadcheck causes overall available truck capacity to tighten and freight rates to rise.

With this in mind, you’re probably wondering why this happens, whether it will happen again this year and, perhaps most importantly, what you can do to ensure roadside inspecitons leave a minimal impact on your supply chain this May. 

Here at Anderson Trucking Service (ATS), we’ve answered these, and questions like these, for decades now. Every spring international roadchecks throw a wrench in the plans of shippers across North America and we’re here to explain why. 

Below you’ll find a comprehensive overview of “blitz week,” broken down as follows:

At its conclusion, this article will leave you with a better understanding of what CVSA International Roadcheck is, when it occurs, and how it impacts nearly every North American supply chain. 

New call-to-action

What is the CVSA International Roadcheck?

Every year in May-June, motor carriers and truck drivers across Canada, Mexico and the U.S. are audited on their adherence to government commercial vehicle rules and regulations. These audits are administered by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Administration — a close companion of the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)

At their core, these International Roadchecks are administered to promote the safety of all pedestrians, drivers and shipments while on International highways. 

By partnering with local highway patrol and commercial motor vehicle inspectors from across the U.S., Canadian Provinces and Mexico, the CVSA conducts road checks at various inspection/weigh stations, via roaming patrols and at temporary inspection checkpoints. 

Administered for a 72-hour window, during which truckers are flagged down and checked for vehicle maintenance and driver compliance practices, International Roadchecks assess drivers in areas that may include any of the following:

  • The mechanical health of their vehicle, including but not limited to:
    • Brakes
    • Engines 
    • Lights
    • Steering functions
    • Fuel systems
    • Cargo securement
  • Driver credentials
  • Hours of service (HOS) adherence and documentation
  • Drug/Alcohol impairment
  • Proper permitting (where applicable)

Although trucks may be checked for any number of these — depending on the discretion of administrative officers — the overarching goals of these checks are typically narrowed down to a main area of focus (or two) each year, targeting a single or pair of roadside inspection elements. Doing so helps the CVSA, and its partners, expedite their compliance checks.

When operating at maximum efficiency, law enforcement has historically been able to pull over and assess 15 semi-trucks every minute during the International Roadcheck.


When is DOT Blitz Week in 2024?

This year — what is commonly referred to as “blitz week” in the trucking industry — will begin in the morning on Tuesday, May 14 and end the evening of Thursday, May 16. 

What is the Focus of the 2024 International Roadcheck?

This year, the International Roadcheck will have two main focus areas. In 2024, the CSVA and its partners will be focused on inspecting the following:

  1. Tractor protection systems
  2. Alcohol and controlled substance protection

Tractor Protector System Inspection

Tractor protector systems like the anti-bleed back valve, trailer supply valve and trailer protection valve are critically important safety systems. These systems must be evaluated, tested and maintained regularly. During the "vehicle" portion of this year's International Roadcheck, authorities will be paying particular attention to these systems to ensure they're in full working order. 

Here's what drivers can expect to occur during inspections this year: 

  • They will be directed to release all brakes by pressing dash valves.
  • They will need to remove the gladhands and allow air to escape.
  • Air should stop leaking from the supply line with at least 20 psi remaining.
  • Inspectors will look for and/or feel for any leaking air at the gladhand couplers on the trailer.
  • Inspectors will request a full-service brake application from the driver.
  • Inspectors will listen and/or feel for leaks from both air lines.

Here is the CVSA's Tractor Protective Systems inspection bulletin for more information.

Note: Even though tractor protection systems are one primary focus of 2024’s Roadcheck, issues in this arena often prompt further vehicle inspections to be conducted at the discretion of law enforcement.

In addition to the inspection of these components, drivers should also expect to be assessed on general equipment maintenance like:

  • Lights
  • Braking systems
  • Hours of service (HOS) logs
  • Permits (where applicable) 


Alcohol and Controlled Substance Inspection 

Drug and alcohol impairment among truck drivers has been a constant area of concern for law enforcement officials. Over the past decade, the Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse has progressively increased its list of truck drivers who are prohibited to operate due to drug/alcohol impairment and possession violations.

Drug and alcohol possession and use while on duty, isn't prohibited and motor carriers are required to have strict policies in place to prevent these activities. The continued year-over-year rise in these violations is concerning.

Here are the details of the 2024 International Roadcheck's alcohol and controlled substance inspection:

  • Inspectors will observe the driver for signs of alcohol or controlled substance use or impairment.
  • Inspectors will examine the cab and trailer for alcohol or controlled substances
  • Inspectors will conduct a query in the DACH.

Download the CVSA's 2024 International Roadcheck Flyer here

Needless to say, all truck drivers will want to ensure their truck, trailer, documentation and cargo are fully compliant with safety regulations over these three days.

This is easier said than done; even if a driver leaves their starting point with everything perfect, it’s impossible to guarantee that something won’t occur during transit

This leaves truck drivers far less motivated to move freight during “blitz” week. 

What Happens If a Driver is Non-Compliant?

During these Roadchecks, if a truck driver is found to violate any of the regulatory mandates they’re being audited for, three actions will be taken

First, the driver and the freight they’re hauling must immediately halt their progress until each discrepancy is amended. If they're missing bolts or a hubcap, for example, they’ll need to get those things fixed. Or, if they’re in violation of HOS regulations, they’ll need to rest until their “clock” resets. 

As you might imagine, the prolonged delays caused by non-compliant carriers over “blitz week” can be harmful to the schedules of all trucking industry stakeholders.

The second thing that happens once a driver is found to violate one commercial motor carrier mandate is an immediate examination for further violations. In the trucking industry, an industry that must maintain safety standards, unsafe practices don’t go unchecked. As such, a single violation — be it a set of loose bolts or otherwise — may be an indicator of deeper issues with the health of a vehicle and/or the safety practices of a carrier. 

The third thing that happens to drivers who are found to be in violation following a road check (which can happen anywhere) is perhaps most impactful. . . 

Drivers who are found to be non-compliant are given an out-of-service (OOS) violation. OOS violations directly impact each motor carrier’s compliance, safety, accountability (CSA) scores — a scale indicating their overall safety “rating.” 

Truck drivers are each given individualized CSA scores. Any violations they incur — and the points associated with them — remain on a driver’s CSA scorecard for three years, affecting their reputation. 

Failing a roadside inspection and receiving an OOS violation is a two-point violation for that driver.

Related Content: What is a CSA Score and Why Should I Worry About It?

How Will “Blitz Week” Impact Your Ability to Secure Truck Capacity?

During these 72 hours, moving freight becomes an activity posing both risk and reward for trucking companies and their drivers. Since any number of things could go wrong during inspection, drivers are far less motivated to put their reputation — and livelihood — on the line. 

Drivers will be less apt to accept/service loads — especially on short notice — during these three days in May. So, expect to deal with the realities stemming from a drop-off in the number of viable transportation solutions for your load (i.e. longer turnaround times, fewer options and. . . higher prices).


How Will This Impact The Price of Moving Your Freight?

Because there will be fewer trucks on the road over the week of May 14-16, shippers, like you, may end up paying more to secure capacity.

In an industry where pricing is influenced by the relationship between the supply of transportation solutions and the overall demand for these services in a particular area, the International Roadcheck makes an impact by removing a large portion of “supply” from this equation. 

Demand for transportation services, however, won’t subside over these three days — leading trucking companies to charge more than they would in normal conditions. 

As a result, if you’re unable to steer your shipments clear of this three-day window — by shipping before or after it — you’ll pay a pretty penny to move them over “blitz week.”

2 Ways to Avoid Disruptions Caused By the CVSA International Roadcheck

When it comes to the CVSA’s International Roadcheck and its impact on your supply chain this year, here are two easily-employable keys to success:

  1. Be aware, plan ahead and communicate your needs
  2. Offer flexibility to your trusted carriers

 1. Be Aware, Plan Ahead and Communicate Your Needs

The simple fact that you're reading this article gives me confidence that when May 14 rolls around, you’ll be ready. However, make sure to educate yourself on what these inspections are, why they’re administered and when they’re happening in your area. 

The dates of the International Roadcheck are subject to change. For this reason, you must stay abreast of the latest developments in their scheduling. 

Additionally, it’s important to plan ahead by anticipating this temporary disruption and communicating your needs to your transportation provider(s).

Be sure to reach out to carriers and explain what you’re hoping to move during this period, how much flexibility you have on your time/deadline requirements and how you’d like them to communicate with you should a problem arise. 

In the pursuit of an unblemished supply chain throughout “blitz week,” transparent communication with each of your trusted providers will be your greatest ally. 


2. Offer Flexibility to Your Trusted Carriers

Sometimes drivers don’t want to move freight during blitz week. 

Though it might not always be possible, allowing your carrier some flexibility on pick/drop dates during this time will significantly improve the freight rates you receive

Ask your trusted partners how they plan to operate over the week of May 14-16 and consider allowing them to add your freight to their schedules as they see fit. 

Though the best carriers have no reason to worry about non-compliance, trucking companies always appreciate some lenience — especially in times of congestion (as “blitz week” so often is).   

In the end, the more timing flexibility you can give carriers during this time, the better. If nothing else, try to avoid holding to rigid pickup/drop appointments over this three-day stretch, which forces carriers into less-than-ideal situations. 

Related Content: 4 Out-Of-The-Box Ways to Save Money On Your Freight Rates

Stay On Top of Things This Year!

Now that you have a better understanding of how CVSA's International Roadcheck impacts the trucking industry — including how the capacity shortage accompanying them impacts service levels and freight rates — you’re better prepared for May 14. 

Don’t forget to bookmark the “News” page on Commercial Vehicle Safety Administration’s website so you can easily access information on this year’s checks and stay up-to-date on future developments. 

Here at Anderson Trucking Service, we’re proud to offer shippers, like you, ample resources for perfecting their transportation processes. In an industry that’s less than forgiving on under-prepared businesses, we know how impactful a little extra help can be. 

If you’re interested in staying abreast of the latest transportation industry information and content, produced by our in-house experts multiple times per week, subscribe to our Learning Hub notifications today. Or, for some insights into how ATS can help you manage your transportation supply chain going forward, please don’t hesitate to reach out. We’re always happy to assist you in any way you need.

Tags: Safety, Freight Brokerage, Flatbed Shipping, Oversized Shipping, Multimodal Shipping, Project Logistics

Josh Porwoll

Written by Josh Porwoll

Since his first day with ATS back in Nov. 2007, Josh has found success in a number of roles. Following his 5 year stint as a national carrier representative, Josh transitioned into the role of operations manager in ATS's logistics division. Today, Josh is the director of operations and continually strives to create lasting relationships with customers and carriers alike.

Get the Latest Content Straight to Your Inbox!

We Have a Podcast! Find Us on Your Favorite App.

Apple Podcasts logoSpotify logoGoogle Podcasts logoAmazon Music logoAmazon Music logo

Beyond the Road Podcast logo

Recent Posts

Work With a Transportation Provider You Can Trust

You don't want your freight in just anyone's hands. Find a transportation provider that cares about your safety and your reputation. Learn how ATS can help.

Connect With an Expert