Tractor-trailers weigh thousands of pounds. That’s why over-the-road rigs are inspected regularly. But what constitutes a dangerous, unsafe commercial truck?
The Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance is a not-for-profit group of safety professionals and government agencies throughout North America. It developed a standard list of criteria to be used by truck inspectors in the United States, Mexico and Canada. The CVSA trains the inspectors.
100 Missouri Truck Safety Inspectors
Missouri has more than 100 certified inspectors. Some are at fixed locations along interstates and highways. Others have portable equipment and rotate along smaller rural roads and throughout St. Louis and other large cities.
There are several levels of commercial truck inspections. The most in-depth is called a Level 1, which includes an examination of the trucker and his rig. Inspectors check for negligent truck driver behavior, such as no valid commercial driver’s license, using drugs or alcohol, or exceeding the maximum of driving hours in a week.
What’s Checked in a Commercial Truck Inspection?
A Level V inspection involves the truck only and is performed with or without the driver present. The major elements of this truck safety inspection include:
- Brakes – air leaks, cracked or missing pads, missing or broken components, worn hoses, broken drums
- Coupling devices -missing, cracked or loose parts in the mechanism that connects the tractor with a trailer
- Fuel system – a loose fuel tank or leaks anywhere in the system
- Lights – inoperative headlamps, tail lamps or turn signals
- Cargo loading – cargo not properly loaded or restrained, missing or damaged tie-downs
- Steering – defects in the truck’s steering mechanism
- Truck tires – less than 1/32″ tread, flat or leaking tires, visible bumps or bulges, truck/cargo weight exceeds tire limits
Some violations are so serious they’re deemed “an imminent hazard to public safety.” These are called “Out-of-Service” violations. Trucks or truckers given an “Out-of-Service” violation are pulled off the road immediately.
The CVSA recently updated its list of truck inspection “Out-of-Service” violation criteria. The revisions include portions pertaining to securing truck cargo, fuel leaks, trailer lights, and steering mechanisms.
When trucks cause fatal accidents, a poorly maintained rig is often the reason, despite this rigorous and ongoing inspection process.
If you had a family member killed or you were seriously injured in a large truck crash, an attorney who handles truck accident cases can conduct a thorough investigation to determine all the contributing factors and hold those responsible accountable for their reckless behavior.
The choice of a lawyer is an important decision that should not be based solely on advertising.