September 1, 2006

License and registration, please

By DC Velocity Staff

The trucks may be in better shape, but the drivers have us a little worried. During this summer's Roadcheck inspection campaign, the number of trucks taken off the road for serious safety defects dropped from last year, but the number of drivers receiving citations rose to a four-year high.

Sponsored by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) in conjunction with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and state and local inspectors, Roadcheck is an annual targeted enforcement program conducted throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. In all, 60,357 trucks and buses were checked this year, which works out to 14 truck and bus inspections a minute.

The CVSA says 21.7 percent of the vehicles inspected in the United States during the three-day event received out-of-service citations, down from 22.5 percent in 2005. (Broken lights, tire and wheel problems, and brakes that needed adjustment accounted for most of the violations.) Citations for trucks hauling hazardous materials also fell to 18.2 percent from 19.3 percent a year ago.

Drivers fared less well. The number of drivers placed out of service jumped to 5.6 percent this year from 4.4 percent in 2005. More than half of those drivers (57.1 percent) were cited for hours-of-service violations, and another 12.5 percent were cited for a related offense, falsification of records of duty status. Licensing-related violations accounted for most of the remaining citations, the most common offense being drivers operating while under suspension. And in case you were wondering, only 2 percent of the drivers were cited for not wearing safety belts.

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