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CVSA “Roadcheck” this week, another missed opportunity to prevent truck accidents

June 5, 2013 by Steven M. Gursten

On June 4-6, 2013, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance runs its truck and bus inspection

CVSA Roadcheck is pop quiz spoiler for truck companies

No teacher announces the date for a pop quiz.  Students who aren’t studying will know not to come to school that day, or will make sure they study up for that pop quiz, and then go back to their unprepared ways.

But every year, that’s what we allow to happen to the truck and bus companies. Delinquents get to game the system, and keep the bad trucks and buses that they know are out of service off the roads, and the drivers they know or strongly suspect to have drug or major health problems at home.

And yet it shows the extent of the problem we have in America today: That even with the dates of the pop quiz announced, nearly one in five trucks still fail and are found so dangerous that they are taken off the road. In addition, approximately 100,000 drivers of buses and trucks will similarly fail FMCSA requirements for driving safety.

The pop quiz dates this year are June 4-6, 2013.  That’s when the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance will be inspecting commercial trucks and buses throughout the country, as well as in Canada and Mexico.

According to the CVSA, about 14 trucks or buses will be inspected every minute.
Each year, approximately 10,000 CVSA-certified local, state, provincial and federal inspectors at 1,500 locations across North America perform the truck and bus inspections.

I care deeply about this issue.  I am past president of the national truck accident lawyer litigation group for the American Association for Justice, and I’ve litigated over 300 truck accident cases in my career.  I’m all for more inspections.

But these inspections should not be announced ahead of time.  We’re giving the delinquents too much warning of the pop quiz.  It has the perverse effect of making the rest of the year more dangerous for us all.

This gives notice to all of the trucking companies. The good ones know to double check and make sure their fleets are up to snuff. And the bad ones will know to get those unmaintained trucks and buses that they know are dangerous and out of service off of the road.

Once that 72-hour period passes, they go back on the road.

The number of unsafe trucks that come from these yearly Roadchecks is always staggering. And as I’ve said before, even with the advance warning of this “pop quiz” to the delinquent students, the “teachers” still  only inspect a very small portion of the trucks on our roads today. So those numbers of out of service trucks are really only the tip of the iceberg.

The 2012 Roadcheck yielded a 20.9 percent out of service rate for the trucks inspected. You can read more in our blog, “1 in 5 trucks on our roads have very dangerous safety violations.”

We will keep you posted on the results of the 2013 Roadcheck.

Related information:

Report: Truckers on drugs contribute to 65,000 truck accidents a year


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