Onslaught of Vehicle Inspections Sidelines Thousands of Large Trucks
Large trucks such as buses, semi-trucks, and tractor-trailers have an inherent capacity to do major damage when involved in an accident. In order to reduce the risk of a crash as much as possible, the US government has created an agency—the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA)—charged with creating and enforcing a detailed set of rules on how large trucks should be maintained, loaded, and operated. Based on the results of a recent inspection blitz, however, it appears that these rules aren’t being consistently followed by drivers or carrier companies. This type of negligence could leave other drivers at risk of serious injury or worse in the event of a large truck accident.
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) conducts an International Roadcheck each year, targeting large commercial trucks for safety inspections throughout the US and Canada. 2017 marked the 30th year of the International Roadcheck. The CVSA enlists trained motor vehicle enforcement officers to conduct these inspections at weigh stations, roadside inspection sites, and at roving patrol stops. The investigators conducted either a Level I inspection (involving a 37-point check of both the vehicle and driver), Level II inspections (where only the vehicle is inspected), or Level III inspection (where only the driver is inspected).
This year’s International Roadcheck was held June 6-8, 2017. In total, officers conducted 62,013 inspections, 40,944 of which were Level I inspections. 9,398 trucks, or 23% of all vehicles that underwent a Level I inspection, were taken out of service as a result of the inspection. Nearly 30% of all trucks taken out of service suffered from a safety violation relating to their braking system. Large commercial trucks can weigh as much as 80,000 lbs, and, even with healthy brakes, require 20%-40% longer to come to a stop than the average passenger vehicle. Allowing vehicles on the road with even worse stopping ability could result in serious accidents, especially in the event of a roadway hazard or precipitation on the road.
Among all those inspected, 4.7% of all drivers were suspended from service after inspection. The leading violation for which drivers were suspended was disregarding the FMCSA’s hours of service regulations. These regulations mandate that commercial truck drivers not be behind the wheel for more than 11 hours in a 24-hour period, and that they take rest and extended sleep breaks at regular intervals. With recent research showing that drowsiness among drivers can be just as dangerous as having a high blood alcohol level, adherence to these rules is critical.
If you or someone you love has been injured in a Texas truck accident, find out if you’re owed damages due to these injuries by contacting the dedicated, effective, and knowledgeable Beaumont personal injury lawyers at the Gilbert Adams Law Offices for a consultation, at 409-835-3000.