Large tractor-trailers are an intimidating presence on Texas roads. Motorists who share the roads with big rigs may be under the impression that roadside inspections keep unsafe trucks off the road. Unfortunately, that impression is largely unfounded.
State and federal trucking regulations restrict driver's hours of work and impose strict maintenance and equipment standards. According to a recent news story, however, enforcement of these regulations through roadside inspections has been declining nationally in recent years. At the same time, the number of fatal truck accidents has been increasing nationwide. Currently almost 4,000 people in this country are killed every year in accidents involving large trucks.
In a 2014 study, 22 percent of trucks and five percent of drivers subjected to random inspections were immediately ordered off the road for safety reasons. And those are the trucks that are inspected - many drivers have become skilled at avoiding the weigh stations where inspections are conducted. To make matters worse, apps and websites are available to let truckers know which weigh stations are closed and when.
The trucks that pull into the weigh stations are probably not the ones inspectors need to worry about. According to a transportation expert, large trucking companies, which can afford regular maintenance and new equipment, get inspected the most because they have the most trucks on the road. It's the smaller companies that don't get inspected as often that are more likely to be in violation of safety rules.
Unsafe trucks are a serious safety problem on Texas roads. When a loved one is killed or seriously injured in an accident caused by an inattentive truck driver or negligent truck maintenance, an experienced truck accident law firm can help family members evaluate their options.
Source: Minneapolis StarTribune, "When big rigs push past the safety rules," Pam Louwagie, Aug. 16, 2015