Commercial truck drivers and their big rigs are supposed to undergo inspections on a regular basis. Inspections cover a trucker’s medical records and training, as well as truck mechanical defects that can cause fatal truck crashes. With over 4,700 people killed in commercial truck accidents in 2017, such crashes occur far too often.
The most serious inspection violations are called “out-of-service” violations. Truckers and rigs given out-of-service violations are grounded until the issues are fixed.
In March the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance announced changes to criteria for some out-of-service violations. The CVSA is a nonprofit group comprised of safety and law enforcement officials focused on conducting and enforcing truck inspections. A review of the latest updates to serious inspection violations warns of the many ways negligent truckers and truck maintenance issues can place other drivers at risk.
Inspection Violations Involving Truck Driver Conduct
One change has to do with truck driver medical and physical requirements.
There are commercial truck drivers with missing or impaired limbs. The federal government’s Skill Performance Evaluation program requires that these truckers wear appropriate prosthetic devices and demonstrate they can drive safely with them. Those that do are given a passing skill performance evaluation.
The CVA notes that previously criteria did not address those truckers with a proper skill performance evaluation but were not complying with its requirements while driving. That has changed. Now the CVSA will give an out-of-service violation to a trucker previously approved for driving but not using a required prosthetic limb.
Truck Maintenance Issues and Serious Truck Inspection Violations
A large portion of out-of-service inspection violation changes announced by the CVSA have to do with mechanical defects found in tractor-trailers.
One change focuses on a commercial truck’s exhaust system; another with commercial truck frames.
Still another has to do with potentially improperly secured cargo on a commercial truck, modifying language to better help inspectors determine if a particular type of cargo tie-down equipment is defective.
The criteria for determining whether a truck’s driveshaft is defective were expanded. And, remarkably, truck drivers who previously were using a temporary driver’s seat – one not secured to the vehicle – weren’t given an out-of-service violation. Now they will by CVSA inspectors.
The CVSA holds roadside inspections throughout North America each year. One event focuses on mechanical issues, while another is concerned with bad truck driver behavior. Last year the CVSA gave out-of-service violations to 14 percent of all commercial trucks for dangerously defective brakes. In a previous 2018 inspection event, nearly 11,000 commercial truckers received citations, with speeding being the top reason.
Truckers who drive carelessly and truck companies that don’t properly maintain their rigs are needlessly putting others in catastrophic danger.
If you had a loved one die or you were severely injured in a crash with a commercial truck, speak with a personal injury attorney who is experienced in handling truck crash lawsuits.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertisements.
Authored by Gray, Ritter & Graham, P.C., posted in Blog April 5, 2019