Texas DPS Removes 1,963 Unsafe Commercial Vehicles during Forewarned Inspection
The Texas Department of Public Safety’s removal of nearly two thousand unsafe commercial vehicles from our roadways last month during a three-day annual inspection highlights an alarming fact – there are a LOT of unsafe 18 wheelers, buses and other commercial motor vehicles (CMV) traveling Texas roads. Before Roadcheck 2013 got underway, most commercial vehicle operators from Canada to Mexico already knew the inspection date and were either prepared for it or on vacation.
Sponsored by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, the annual Roadcheck program is designed to reduce the number of highway fatalities involving commercial vehicles by increasing CMV and driver safety, education, and law enforcement activities. Although the crackdown on unsafe commercial vehicles is applaudable, the announcement of its date is questionable, at best.
Some CMV operators simply consider the annual inspection vacation time for truckers. More than a month before the June 4–6 inspection trucking forums announced the inspection date, telling truckers to “get things in working order, or plan a vacation.”
Even with advanced warning given, Texas DPS put 1,963 commercial vehicles out of service for safety violations during the three-day inspection. According to an announcement released last week, DPS inspected 9,200 commercial vehicles, removing about 21 percent from the road until repaired. Common safety violations involved issues with brakes and defective vehicle lighting.
Also checking drivers for compliance with state and federal laws, DPS put 248 CMV drivers out of service for various violations including improper logging of duty time, driving over the maximum number of hours, and failing to have the right type of driver license for the vehicle driven. During just those three days, DPS issued 2,800 citations and more than 26,000 warnings.
Considering the wide-spread knowledge about the inspection and number of CMVs and drivers caught during the publicized event, we can only wonder how many other unsafe commercial vehicles and drivers are back on Texas roadways today, putting lives at risk. Although any unsafe vehicle can endanger lives, an auto accident with a large 18 wheeler or other CMV can cause tremendous damage and often results in fatalities. A single bus crash can kill numerous people – and has. Remember the horrific fatal bus crash in Sherman, Texas that killed 17 passengers and injured 38 others in 2008? The Angel Tours bus was operating illegally after safety violations were uncovered.
According to the Texas Department of Transportation’s most recent data, 26,403 crashes involving commercial vehicles occurred in 2012. At least 520 people died as a result and another 5,287 suffered serious injuries.
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