Troopers will seek unsafe drivers and vehicles during
72-hour commercial vehicle event
During the 72-hour Roadcheck 2011 program this week, DPS troopers will be looking for 18-wheeler drivers who have been driving too long, or are otherwise operating unsafe commercial vehicles. They’ll also be looking at passenger buses to make sure that they’re operating safely.
Although DPS enforces commercial vehicle laws every day of the year, troopers will join with law enforcement officers in the U.S., Mexico and Canada from June 7 to 9 in emphasizing driving safety.
Commercial Vehicle Enforcement troopers, noncommissioned inspectors and specially trained Highway Patrol troopers will stop thousands of commercial vehicles to inspect safety equipment and check driver log books, driver licenses and endorsements. Inspectors will also look for possible drug or alcohol use.
“We’re concerned about the safety of commercial vehicles and their drivers. We’re also responsible for the safety of the drivers and passengers around those 18-wheelers,” said David G. Baker, the assistant director who is the Chief of the Texas Highway Patrol. “Commercial drivers should know that if they aren’t complying with applicable safety requirements, they will be placed out of service.”
Troopers also will look for moving companies that are illegally using improperly marked rental vehicles or otherwise operating illegally. Companies that move household goods are required to operate under special rules.
In recent years, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has seen a decrease in the number of companies that have registered as carriers of household goods. The agency suspects that many companies are operating under the radar to avoid having to adhere to federal requirements.
“Expanding this year’s Roadcheck to include household goods movers, along with trucks and buses, reflects our strong commitment to stepping up commercial vehicle safety enforcement and saving lives on our nation’s roadways,” said Anne S. Ferro, administrator for FMCSA. “We want every commercial motor carrier and driver to embrace safety as their number one priority. Roadcheck drives home this lifesaving message.”
During Roadcheck 2010, DPS troopers inspected 6,906 commercial vehicles, placing 25 percent of the vehicles (1,738) out of service because they were found to have serious enough safety violations to be removed from service until repairs could be made. Troopers placed 160 of the drivers (2.3 percent) out of service for violations ranging from not properly tracking their hours of service to suspended, expired or cancelled driver licenses. Four drivers were placed out of service for drug or alcohol violations. Troopers issued five tickets for seat belt violations.
Vehicles passing inspection receive a CVSA decal exempting the vehicle from inspection for a 90-day period, unless they have an obvious safety defect. Troopers issued 2,516 decals during Roadcheck 2010.
The Roadcheck program, which stretches from Mexico to Canada, is designed to reduce commercial vehicle highway fatalities through increased vehicle safety. The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), which sponsors Roadcheck, estimates that the program has saved more than 234 lives and avoided 4,293 injuries in North America since the program’s start in 1988.