3 Ways Shippers Can Prepare For DOT Week 2021

DOT Week is right around the corner. 

On Tuesday, May 4, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance will begin its annual International Roadcheck week across the U.S., and different from previous years, this year’s DOT Week has the potential to have a more significant impact on the market. 

In this post, we will cover the focus of this year’s inspections as well as market trends we can expect to see and how shippers can best prepare their shipping operations. 

What is DOT Week?

Trends to Expect

3 Ways Shippers Can Prepare For DOT Week

What is DOT Week?

DOT Week, otherwise known as International Roadcheck Week or DOT Blitz Week, is the world’s largest targeted enforcement on commercial vehicles. With inspections spanning across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico, DOT Week is a 72-hour inspection window that emphasizes a specific vehicle inspection point. 

On average, 15 commercial vehicles are inspected every minute during DOT Week.

What do they inspect?

Inspectors conduct a 37-step North American Level 1 inspection where they focus on an array of components including, but not limited to:

  • Driver’s record of duty
  • Hours of service
  • Brake systems
  • Cargo securement
  • Fuel systems 
  • Lightning devices  

Looking back on 2020, more than 50,000 North American Standard Level I, II, III, and V inspections were carried out across the U.S., Canada, and Mexico. The overall vehicle out-of-service rate for levels I, II, and V inspections combined, was 20.9%.

The top 2020 vehicle out-of-service (OOS) violations were brake systems, tires, lights, cargo securement, and brake adjustment. 

What will be the focus on this year’s DOT Week? 

Hours of service will be the primary focus of the inspections.

Trends to Expect

  1. Capacity will tighten. 

Every year the market experiences a dip in capacity due to many carriers sitting out the week to run their equipment to avoid the heavy fines associated with DOT Week.

Not to mention, if carriers are identified with a violation, a downgrade in safety rating is sure to follow, which over the long term is more detrimental to their fleet as it prevents them from hauling specific freight or working with certain shippers. 

  1. Delays are inevitable.

There’s no other way around it; carriers will be delayed in transit. With inspectors actively searching and stopping commercial vehicles, you can expect carriers to arrive late if they happen to be stopped and inspected. 

  1. Spot rates are sure to rise.

With a deficit in capacity during DOT Week, more freight is typically allocated to the spot market over the 72-hour inspection period. Expect premium rates to be paid out to cover shipments. 

  1. Routing guide compliance could become an issue. 

Carriers are more likely to give freight back during the International Roadcheck as fleets choose to sit out. Identifying local and regional shipments that could be at-risk early will be critical for shippers.    

3 Ways Shippers Can Prepare for DOT Week

Pre-plan shipments

Prioritize shipments appropriately to ensure your transportation providers can service them well. Scheduling loads ahead of time and providing proper loading and unloading times will make your freight more attractive and will limit disruptions to your shipping operations. Bear in mind, if rates are through the roof, ship it the next week if you have the flexibility.

Communicate with transportation providers

Issues can arise; after all, we are in transportation. Help your carrier partners position their drivers best by communicating shipment updates and accessorial policies. Delays are inevitable with the ongoing inspections of Roadcheck. Talk with your carriers about your accessorial policy and work with them to find a solution for all involved.

Be flexible with carrier partners

Roadcheck is challenging for both shippers and carriers. When possible, be flexible to work in late drivers and be patient with workarounds. Remember, we’re all in this together.

Do you need help with your freight during DOT Week? Drop us a line to speak to a freight specialist.