One-Day Event Seeks to Curb Dangers of Commercial Vehicles

A dramatic one-day jump in the number of inspections of tractor-trailers and other commercial vehicles to spotlight the need for trucking safety on the nation’s roads will occur Tuesday, June 4.

Roadcheck 2013, sponsored by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), a not-for-profit organization that promotes commercial motor vehicle safety throughout North America, is the 26th annual effort that features intensified commercial vehicle inspections in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

Organizers say that, working with federal and state inspectors, the event will conduct three times the average number of daily inspections. Beyond the general roadside inspection of tractor-trailers, Roadcheck 2013 has three special emphases: tired drivers, cargo on commercial trucks, and inspecting other commercial vehicles such as motorcoaches.

The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration is helping with the event. In a CVSA news release announcing the event, FMCSA Administrator Anne S. Ferro says, “This year’s Roadcheck comes at a perfect time to get the word out on our new hours-of-service rule. The rule, which state and federal officials will begin enforcing on July 1, draws the line on fatigued driving.”

Inspections Designed to Catch Tired Truck Drivers

Under the new hours-of-service guidelines, drivers of large over-the-road trucks:

· Cannot drive for more than 8 consecutive hours without taking a 30-minute break.
· Can only drive 70 hours per week
· Those who do drive the 70 must take two breaks between 1 a.m. and 5 a.m.

The CVSA reports that about 10 percent of trucking safety violations found in previous Roadcheck events was for dangerous cargo loading. This includes not only exceeding the limits that a truck can carry but also improperly securing the cargo. Shifting cargo can make the driver lose control of his rig and endangering others on the road.

Accidents caused by commercial trucks and buses often are catastrophic, so this crackdown on negligent trucker and trucking companies may save lives and is important. Legal action, however, can also help prevent future fatalities and provide trucking accident victims much-deserved compensation.