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A trucker’s take on the proper pre-trip inspection

March 24, 2012 by Steven M. Gursten

Comment from a truck driver on the importance of a thorough evaluation of the truck before hitting the road

I often write about the importance of a thorough pre-trip inspection by truck drivers, and how motor carriers who put profits ahead of safety often push and pressure their truckers to rush through this important safety step required by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR).

Some truck drivers contend that a pre-trip inspection can be done within 10 minutes. But as a truck accident attorney who has handled countless lawsuits due to out-of-service trucks that have caused crashes, I can tell you that 10 minutes is not nearly enough time to make sure the truck is safe and in good condition before a trip. And if you are a trucker and you disagree with me (I always get one or two when I write about these safety topics), I want you to know that I’ve deposed over the years just about every hard-core defense truck safety expert in the industry today. Even the most extreme defense experts, who almost never find that the trucker did anything wrong, agree with me that 10 minutes is not enough time.

This brings me to a comment I just received on one of my blogs: Why is the pre-trip inspection one of the most violated safety rule in truck accident cases? This was from a trucker named Edie and I thought I would posts it today in its entirety since in a few short paragraphs, it captures so much of what happens within the truck industry these days.

Regarding the amount of time it takes to do a proper pre-trip, Edie agrees that it can take up to 45 minutes to do a safe pre-trip inspection.

Here is her recent comment. Thanks for writing in.

“As a 29 year veteran until I destroyed my left knee getting into my truck, I can honestly tell you that there are times when a proper inspection can be done in 15 minutes, and there are times when it takes 30 or even 45 minutes just to complete the inspection (that does not include the time spent for needed repairs that were found during the inspection…the finding of which is what took the inspection time from the normal 15 minutes to 30 or 45)….90% of all needed repairs that I have ever found were on the dropped trailer that I just hooked to that the previous driver couldn’t be bothered to either inspect him/herself or they did inspect but didn’t want to lose time getting the repairs done….so instead I wasted my time taking care of their repairs as I wanted to keep the perfect record that I had.

My carrier is now over due to my knee injury but I still get extremely IRATE every time I hear some fool Joe Citizen complaining about the truck drivers that slowed them up for 5 seconds as they approached their off ramp. I also get extremely upset every time I see some so called professional driver do something stupid (living extremely close to 2 major truck stops I see this all the time…in fact, I have had more drivers then I can count pull out of said truck stops right in front of me causing me the 4-wheeler to take evasive action (thank God I am still professional enough to constantly pay attention and look ahead). Drivers you all need to remember that you ARE NOT in that truck 24/7/365 there are the rare times when you go home and then you are a 4-wheeler….stop and think NOT ALL 4-wheelers are idiots….a few are either drivers on home time or the family of a driver….BE PROFESSIONAL at ALL TIMES.”

To Edie and truckers like you who always are safe on the roads and care about preventing truck accidents, we appreciate you.

Steven Gursten is head of Michigan Auto Law and one of the top truck accident lawyers in the country. He is past president of the American Association for Justice Truck Accident Lawyer Litigation Group, and has received the top-reported jury verdict in Michigan for a truck accident case, according to Michigan Lawyers Weekly. Steve was named a Michigan Lawyers Weekly Leader in the Law for his work to promote national truck safety.

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Michigan Auto Law exclusively handles car accident, truck accident and motorcycle accident cases throughout the entire state of Michigan. We have offices in Farmington Hills, Sterling Heights, Ann Arbor, Grand Rapids and Detroit. Call (248) 353-7575 or to speak with one of our Michigan truck accident lawyers today.

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