2 Ways the Roadcheck 2021 Inspection Blitz Will Be Different

This year’s Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) International Roadcheck “week” is taking place May 4-6. Over the 72-hour period, the annual international inspection blitz will see inspection and enforcement events throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Based on 2020’s most common violations, this year’s inspections will focus on:

  • Broken or inoperable lamps
  • Hours of service

What we know from previous Roadchecks

Last year was an unusual year due to the pandemic. Roadcheck was postponed to September, when we saw high freight volumes and van and reefer spot rates reach new heights.

For example in 2020, the average van rate rose $0.01/mile, and the load-to-truck ratio was virtually unchanged during Roadcheck week compared to the prior week.

During 2019’s Roadcheck week, van line-haul rates increased $0.09/mile that week. The van load-to-truck ratio jumped from 2.5 to 3.9. This meant that there were 3.9 loads for every available truck on the DAT network.

Roadcheck 2018 also saw hikes to van rates and load-to-truck ratio that week. The spot rate increased $0.07/mile and the ratio jumped from 4.8 to 7.2.

What’s different for the 2021 Roadcheck

This year’s Roadcheck week will be different from previous inspection blitzes in two important ways:

  • It’s happening earlier.
    Roadcheck 2021 will take place in May instead of June. (Although last year’s Roadcheck was delayed to September due to the pandemic.) Freight rates traditionally peak in June, so many shippers already expect to pay more at that time. Shippers may not anticipate rate increases in May.
  • Truckload capacity is tight.
    We’re seeing tight load-to-truck ratios across the van, reefer and flatbed segments. All three segment ratios have increased by more than well over 100% compared to March of 2020, before widespread lockdowns. Flatbed’s national average load-to-truck ratio nearly tripled.

What we can expect

Drivers working during Roadcheck tend to be less productive due to the time lost during inspections. Many choose to take time off to avoid inspection hassles. With CVSA announcing Roadcheck dates back in February, there was plenty of time for drivers to plan vacations (or staycations).

Due to fewer drivers during the first full week of May because of Roadcheck, we expect:

  • Fewer trucks posted to the loadboard network
  • Higher load-to-truck ratios
  • Increased spot rates

While many drivers take Roadcheck week off, some truckers will find the higher rates worth the inspection hassles.

For the latest insights into truckload rates, get RateView Analytics from DAT iQ.