In the largest targeted enforcement program on commercial vehicles in the world, 14 trucks or buses were inspected every minute from Canada to Mexico during Roadcheck 2006. Over a 72-hour period from June 6-8, 8,522 inspectors at 1,850 locations across North America performed a near-record 60,357 truck and bus inspections, according to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.
During the 19th annual Roadcheck, CVSA says the number of vehicles placed out of service and “parked” due to serious defects decreased significantly this year from 2005 in all major categories: trucks, buses and hazmat:
A record number of CVSA decals — 30,950 — were issued to vehicles passing the inspection without having any defects in the 13 critical inspection areas. However, the number of drivers placed out of service increased significantly this year from last, going from 4.4% in 2005 to 5.6% in 2006, according to CVSA.
“The roadside inspector, in partnership with FMCSA (Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration) and the support it provides through the Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program, have been key factors in helping to reduce the large truck-related fatality rate in the United States by nearly 50 percent in the last 20 years,” says Stephen Campbell, CVSA executive director. “Placing emphasis on drivers is a key component to enhancing safety on our highways, and concentrated enforcement programs like Roadcheck give us the data we need to target our efforts. Enforcement sends a message that we will put you out of service if you are violating the law or driving an unsafe commercial vehicle.”
The bulk of those drivers placed out of service (57.1%) were done so for hours-of-service violations, followed by falsification of records of duty status with 12.4% of the total. Licensing-related violations comprised the bulk of the remaining drivers placed out of service, with drivers operating while under suspension leading the pack. HOS violations continue a disconcerting trend in 2006, with 4.5% of all inspections resulting in a driver being placed out of service for HOS, up from 3.5% in 2005 and 3.4% in 2004.
“The trucking industry continues to be appreciative of CVSA’s annual Roadcheck effort to target unsafe commercial motor vehicles and drivers operating on our highways,” says Bill Graves, president and chief executive officer of the American Trucking Associations. “ATA is pleased to see that the safety of the truck fleet continues to improve. Given the recent changes and uncertainty over the status of the hours-of-service rules, we acknowledge that driver adherence to these new rules is a challenge.”
In addition, there were 1,223 drivers cited for not wearing their safety belts, up from 1,150 last year. This, however, comprises a small fraction (2.0%) of the total drivers inspected. Safety belt use was one of the focus areas during this year’s event due to their low usage rate by commercial drivers (54%) as compared to automobile drivers (82%).
“The success of Roadcheck is a reflection of the strength of our federal, state and local partnerships,” says David Hugel, FMCSA deputy administrator. “The key is working together. And while Roadcheck each year raises well-deserved national attention to these dedicated professionals, the truth of the matter is, they are working every day to save lives.”