Summer Semi Inspection Blitz Pulls Nearly 14,000 Trucks Out of Service for Safety Violations
From June 3rd to June 5th last summer, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) teamed up with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to conduct Roadcheck 2014. Roadcheck, now in its 27th year, is a 72-hour safety inspection and enforcement blitz occurring annually across North America. This year’s event inspected nearly 73,500 trucks and buses at approximately 2,500 locations throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Of the vehicles inspected, 18.7%, or about 14,000, were placed out of service for safety violations.
Over 60% of the Out-of-Service (OOS) violations were for brake adjustment violations, issues with brake systems, and tire and wheel violations. It is frightening to think that almost one out of every five trucks inspected failed to meet safety standards in these critical areas, and that only a fraction of the trucks in the country were stopped for inspection. Given that there are more than two million tractor-trailers registered in the United States, half a million or more semis could easily be in operation right now when they should be placed out of service.
Roadcheck 2014 also conducted driver inspections along with the vehicle inspections. As a result, almost five percent, or about one in twenty, of drivers were found guilty of OOS violations. About half of these OOS placements were for violating the FMCSA’s maximum hours of service regulations. Despite the fact that FMCSA allows truckers behind the wheel for 11 hours in 14-hour workdays over a six or seven-day workweek, many drivers still push themselves past the legal limit in order to get to their destination as soon as possible. These truckers risk serious personal injury and wrongful death to themselves and others from catastrophic truck accidents caused by driver fatigue, inattention or distractedness, and falling asleep at the wheel.
Driver logbooks are one source of information for inspectors regarding compliance with hours of service and other safety regulations. A particularly disturbing result of Roadcheck 2014 was that 13.7% of the driver OOS violations were for falsifying logbooks to make them appear in compliance when they weren’t. Other OOS violations included truckers being disqualified from driving or found to be driving under a suspended license.
Some industry press releases about the results of Roadcheck 2014 tout the improvement in many categories over previous years, but it appears to us that trucking safety still has a long way to go.