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Toledo, Ohio

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Michael Leizerman
Michael Leizerman
Attorney • (800) 628-4500

Road Check: Are Big Trucks Safe?

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This past June, certified commercial motor vehicle inspectors in the U.S. and Canada joined together in the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s (CVSA) 30th annual International Roadcheck. During a three day period covering June 6-8, enforcement personnel conducted over 62,000 safety inspections (over 54,000 in the U.S. alone) of both vehicles and drivers of large trucks and buses at weigh stations, inspection sites and along the roadways of North America.

The results? Not too encouraging, considering that almost one in four tractor-trailer rigs on the roads today shouldn’t be—specifically in that they were unable to pass Level I inspection standards as set forth by the CVSA. These parameters include but aren’t limited to:

  • Vehicle’s brake system
  • Cargo securement
  • Operation of all vehicle lights
  • Steering mechanism
  • Structural integrity of vehicle frame
  • Tire and tread condition

So how is it that 23 percent of all vehicles inspected were unable to pass these basics—causing them to be removed from service on the spot? These are not mere “warning” offenses, but major infractions that violate the legal requirements for operating a large commercial vehicle. Elevating the level of incredulousness is that this long-running event is well-known and anticipated by the industry; the CVSA actually promoted the event with specific dates as early as March—yet, many of the vehicles inspected were found to not be compliant.

It is interesting to note that this event coincides with a crucial point in time for the industry, one where previous practices might get relegated to the past for good as carriers look to technology to keep their trucks moving. In response, some drivers are incensed to the point of planning a protest in Washington D.C. during the first week of October, fighting for the ratification of a trucker’s “bill of rights.”

Few deny that there are major issues within the industry that are “broken” and need fixing—but, so far, it’s obvious that the carriers, drivers and regulators all have differing agendas. While a viable solution could be just around the bend, the CVSA road check event reminds us that, in the meantime, we need to improve the safety of our highways.

Michael Leizerman is a truck accident attorney specializing in catastrophic multi-axle collisions. He understands all facets of truck accident litigation; including federal regulations, drug and alcohol testing and hours of service requirements. He has authored a treatise entitled Litigating Truck Accident Cases and often educates other attorneys on trucking laws and regulations. You can learn more about Leizerman & Associates by visiting their website, www.truckaccidents.com.