When you drive alongside a massive tractor trailer on the Montana roadway, you may take for granted that the truck driver operating the large vehicle is fully trained and licensed to do so. You may be surprised to find out, however, that the truck driver may have former violations and should not be allowed to operate a truck at all or that the truck they are driving does not pass requirements to function on the road.
Every year the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance holds 72-hour road check inspections of both trucks and truck drivers. Inspectors look at truck drivers’ hours-of-service documentation, operating credentials, seat belt usage, alcohol use and drug impairment. They then check the tractor trailer’s cargo securement, exhaust systems, brakes, frames, coupling devices, lighting, fuel systems, suspensions, steering mechanisms, windshield wipers and tires.
In 2017, the CVSA performed over 62,000 inspections and subsequently placed 4.7% of truck drivers out of service for different violations, and 19.4% of trucks were placed out of service because they did not meet the standard operating requirements.
The findings are alarming due to the fact that a mechanical failure could lead to a devastating and potentially fatal truck accident. Furthermore, drivers who violate the law pose a risk to motorists on the road. Trucking companies are responsible for ensuring their fleet of trucks are well-maintained and able to perform on the road, as well as ensuring the truck drivers do not have any past driving violations. Truckers are also responsible for checking their trucks prior to starting out on a haul.
This information is intended to educate and should not be taken as legal advice.