Jim Adler | The Tough, Smart Lawyer
By Jim Adler October 7, 2015

The recent Texas Road Check 2015 by the Texas Department of Public Safety was a resounding success. The DPS reported in August that it inspected 7,865 commercial vehicles and pulled 21.7% (or 1,710) of the 18-wheelers, buses and other commercial vehicles off the road due to violations.

Annual Safety Inspections

The annual three-day inspection is geared toward lowering commercial vehicle highway deaths by ensuring safer vehicles. Texas inspections are part of a nationwide effort spearheaded by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), with participation by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and others.

The CVSA has inspected 1.4 million vehicles since the program began in 1988 and estimates these inspections have saved 318 lives and avoided 5,840 injuries. This year’s inspection involved 1,500 inspection points at which about 70,000 vehicles were inspected.

The DPS had Commercial Vehicle Enforcement personnel, specially trained highway patrol troopers and trained civilian inspectors for the June 2-4 inspections.

Nationally, around 10,000 CVSA-certified state, local, provincial and federal inspectors performed bus and truck inspections. Inspectors such as those with the Texas DPS conducted enforcement, compliance and educational initiatives aimed at assorted aspects of motor carrier, driver, vehicle and cargo safety.

Secure Cargos Weigh Heavily

Every year, a special focus is placed on one of the primary safety categories. For this year’s June inspection period, cargo securement weighed heavily in the process.

Proper loading and securing of cargo on vehicles is vital to roadway safety. Regulations mandate that a driver stop within the first few miles of a journey and recheck tie-downs and other load-securing elements for many kinds of loads, especially those which aren’t sealed or inaccessible.

Common Violations, Tickets

Besides unsecured cargos, common violations found by Texas inspectors included problems with vehicles’ lighting and brakes.

Along with those things, vehicles also were inspected for:

  • Tires, wheels, rims and hubs
  • Suspension
  • Steering
  • Coupling devices
  • Fuel and exhaust systems

Drivers, too, were evaluated for their compliance with state and federal laws. A total of 212 drivers were taken out of service during the inspection process, often for lacking a proper driver’s license for their vehicle, for driving more than the maximum hours allowed and for improperly logging their driving time.

Besides taking some drivers out of service, the DPS issued more than 21,300 warnings and nearly 2,000 citations, or traffic tickets.

Nationwide, last year’s inspection took 18.7% of vehicles and 4.8% of drivers out of service.

How to be Safer on Roads

For this year’s inspection period, the CVSA urged drivers to follow a number of safety procedures, including:

  • Buckle up with seatbelts before driving
  • Pre-inspect vehicles’ condition
  • Ensure mirrors are positioned properly
  • Obey speed limits and traffic signs
  • Maintain a safe following distance (especially for hard-to-stop big rigs)
  • Change lanes safely and only when needed
  • Avoid driving distractions
  • Drive sober
  • Get proper sleep before driving

Another annual time to remind drivers of safety procedures is April, National Distracted Driving Awareness Month.

Jim Adler & Associates defends the legal rights of persons injured in traffic accidents involving commercial vehicles such as semi trucks and buses. If someone in your family was hurt by a bad driver or a defective vehicle, notify the injury lawyers at our law firm for a free case evaluation.

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