CVSA International Roadcheck – 2018 – and Why I Hate Statistic Spinning!

Statistics ChartCVSA International Road Check – 2018

June 5-7.

Mark it on your calendar. This is the date for the annual CVSA safety blitz. That means that MTO and OPP officers here in Ontario and their fellow officers around North America will be taking a more serious look at trucks and drivers for this weekend.

While Sylvie and I don’t have a problem with inspections or blitzes, we do take issue with statistics spinning. Especially me, as I have a strong affinity for math and I hate to see it abused.

Every year the CVSA focuses on one area in particular, even though full inspections are carried out. The focus during this year’s event will be Hours of Service.

What’s This About Statistics? (Time For A Wee Rant)

According to CVSA President Capt. Christopher Turner of the Kansas Highway Patrol, this year’s focus will be Hours of Service because “The top reason drivers were placed out-of-service (OOS) during 2017 International Roadcheck was for Hours of Service violations … Thirty-two percent of drivers who were placed out of service during last year’s three-day International Roadcheck were removed from our roadways due to violations related to hours-of-service regulations. It’s definitely an area we need to call attention to this year.” [emphasis is mine]

Spinning Numbers

The problem that I have with this quote is that the 32% number seems to imply that almost 1/3 of all truckers are breaking the law!

Well, that’s not true.

What it says is that 32% of the drivers taken out of service were due to HoS issues. What we need to see is how many of the drivers who were inspected during the blitz were actually placed OOS. Then 32% of that number is how many drivers were breaking the law.

So, let’s take a look at the numbers. According to the CVSA roadcheck results for 2017, there were 62,013 inspections done in the 72 hours – the bulk of them Level 1, but some Level 2 and Level 3. Of those inspections, 4.7% resulted in a driver placed OOS.

That means that 32% of 4.7% (which is 1.5%) of all drivers inspected were placed OOS for HoS issues.

Is It Really Worse Than Ever?

It is also interesting that when I look at the CVSA 2015-Q4 Newsletter it shows that in 2015 the percentage of drivers placed OOS for HoS issues (vs all drivers OOS) was 46%, and even higher in 2014 and 2013.

It is still the most significant category of OOS for drivers, so the focus is justified in that respect, but the implications coming from spinning the percentages are out of line.

Bottom Line

The bottom line is this: Don’t trust the statistics that get bandied about when these blitzes take place. They always spin them to make it seem like they’re out there fighting off the evil truckers.

I don’t mind them doing there job. In fact, I think they should do more to encourage compliance with the law and reward those drivers and companies that work hard to be within the rules. And they help to keep the public safe.

But don’t twist the statistics to make things appear in a way that they aren’t.

Bill is the webmaster at Trucks-R-Us.ca. He develops and delivers training in Hours of Service, Pre-trip Inspections and Cargo Securement. He also assists Sylvie in performing safety audits.

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