Research Papers

Evaluation of Commercial Vehicles Pre-Trip Inspections Conducted in Quebec

Filename 4b1.pdf
Filesize 298 KB
Version 1
Date added June 5, 2005
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Category 2005–CMRSC-XV–Fredericton
Tags Dr. Charles H. Miller Award Winner, Session 4B
Author/Auteur Olivier Bellavigna-Ladoux, Michel Gou
Award/Prix Dr. Charles H. Miller


Bob Baird, Olivier Bellavigna-Ladoux, Michel Gou

Bob Baird, Olivier Bellavigna-Ladoux, Michel Gou

Pre-Trip Inspections (PTI) for commercial vehicle operators are mandatory in the province of Quebec, as in the rest of North-America. According to the regulation, commercial drivers must inspect their vehicle at the start of their daily work shift. This inspection consists in a visual check of the main mechanical components, such as the tires, the wheels, the steering system and the brakes. Performed properly, the PTI can help prevent mechanical defect causing road collisions. It was thus considered pertinent to evaluate PTI conducted by professional commercial drivers in Quebec. The objectives of this study are to review the current state of PTI program requirement in North America, to measure the quality of PTI conducted by drivers in Quebec, to evaluate the drivers' knowledge concerning current PTI regulations, and finally to assess drivers' and transport company managers' awareness regarding road safety.

In order to reach these objectives, three evaluation grids were developed: two for randomly selected commercial drivers and one for their company representatives. The survery was conducted over a 14 month period, on a sample of 343 drivers and 23 trasnport company representatives, in the extended area surrounding the Island of Montreal. The drivers evaluated were from a large spectrum of age groups and professional experiences.

Results show an average completion time for the PTI of approximately 10.5 minutes. Global task efficiency of the PTI was found to be of only 60.1% amongst all drivers, with an average rated effort of only 63.5%. In particular, it was noted that braking system checks were amongst the less well executed (effectiveness of 26.6% for service brakes and 31.7% for parking brakes). This is worrisome, considering that brake defects are very often to blame when a mechnical failure is at the origin of a road collision. Important weaknesses in PTI execution were thus identified. However, some encouraging data was found concerning the relatively high degree of awareness of drivers and managers regarding the importance of PTI as a road safety tool.

Following these observations, three main recommendations are proposed in order to improve the performance of commercial drivers in PTI execution. These recommendations are aimed at drivers' training, at the diffusion of a brake check memorandum to all drivers, and finally at coercive control measures on the road and in the work place by government representatives.

Olivier Bellavigna-Ladoux, Michel Gou