Nearly 18,000 Semi-Trucks Discovered with Safety Violations in One Three-Day Inspection Period
Every year for the last 27 years, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) and the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) have joined forces to conduct Roadcheck, a 72-hour truck safety enforcement blitz. Roadcheck 2014 was conducted from June Third to Fifth this year at 2,500 locations across the U.S., Canada and Mexico. Over 73,000 trucks and buses were stopped and inspected, and a significant number of safety violations were found.
Of the 73,475 vehicles inspected, 18.7% were placed out-of-service for safety violations. 61% of the out-of-service (OOS) violations were for brake system issues (29.5%), brake adjustment violations (16.7%) and tire/wheel violations (13.8%). Brake failures and blowouts at highway speeds can be disastrous and lead to serious personal injury or wrongful death for the unfortunate vehicles at the wrong end of a truck accident crash. If these numbers reflect the industry as a whole, nearly one in five 18-wheelers on the road right now are unsafe and should be pulled from service.
Driver Inspections Revealed Safety Violations Too
In addition to the tractor-trailer vehicle inspections, Roadcheck 2014 also conducted driver-focused inspections as well. Nearly five percent (one in twenty) of all drivers inspected were pulled from service for OOS violations. Almost half (46.5%) of the driver OOS violations were for violating the FMCSA regulations governing the maximum hours of service a trucker can drive or be on duty in a given period. These regulations are already quite generous, allowing truckers behind the wheel for 11 hours in a 14-hour workday across a six or seven-day workweek. Truckers breaking these rules run a significant risk of falling asleep at the wheel or failing to stay alert enough to avoid a serious accident.
The other major reasons for driver OOS violations were equally alarming. For instance, 13.7% were found to have falsified their logbooks to make them appear in compliance with FMCSA regulations when they actually weren’t. In addition, 12.7% of drivers were found to be disqualified from driving, and 7.8% were discovered to be driving with a suspended license.
In most of the categories inspected, the numbers for Roadcheck 2014 actually show an improvement over prior years. However, the high incidence of vehicle and driver violations show we still have a long way to go in keeping our highways and roads safe for trucking and the people who share the road with the big rigs.