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Pop quiz announcement! CVSA Roadcheck 2016 is June 7-9

Written by Steve Gursten Posted June 7th, 2016

Sigh… time to let all truck and bus companies know ahead of time, so they can stay off the roads

CVSA Roadcheck 2016

As truck accident attorneys, we’ve spent much of our careers working to make our roads safer. For instance, as past-presidents of the American Association for Justice Truck Accident Lawyer Group, we’ve spoken to politicians and regulators about the need to address dangerous trucks on our roads. Roundtable Co-Founder Steven Gursten was recently featured on CBS as an expert on the truck safety crisis involving truckers with serious medical conditions getting behind the wheel and causing deadly wrecks.

But every year, we wonder the same thing about “Roadcheck,” a three-day annual safety inspection blitz of trucks and other commercial motor vehicles by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA).

This year, Roadcheck is June 7-9. Tractor-trailers, buses and other heavy trucks throughout the U.S. and North America will be inspected for safety violations.

Although most of the public doesn’t even know Roadcheck exists, the trucking industry has been issuing related warnings to drivers and trucking companies for months.

Roadcheck is a great idea with a good intent. But we will never understand why the CVSA announces the dates ahead of time. By announcing the dates to the public and thus, all commercial motor carriers, the really dangerous truck and bus drivers with maintained vehicles know to stay off the roads for the three days. It’s no longer a pop quiz that can catch the true safety violations.

In turn, a lot of improperly licensed drivers and those who operate unsafe trucks avoid work during Roadcheck in order to escape the scrutiny of safety regulators. In fact, the scenario of truckers deciding to stay away during this three-day stretch has become so common that it’s actually called a “Roadcheck Vacation” among trucking industry insiders.

What it really means for the public is the safest days of the year to be on the highway come during Roadcheck, but the most dangerous are during the days that follow, as unsafe vehicles and sketchy drivers return to the highway.

Two years ago, safety officials conducted roughly 70,000 individual Roadcheck inspections. Yet even though drivers knew well ahead of time, the results were terrible. More than 1,600 truckers were ticketed for working longer hours of service than allowed by law, and more than 10,000 truck drivers were ordered off the road for safety violations.

It’s pretty scary when you consider that more than 2% of the drivers and nearly 15% of the trucks in this pre-announced inspection were found unfit for the highway.

When safety inspections come as a surprise, the results are even more troubling. For example, Maryland officials conducted an unannounced, one-day inspection in early May involving more than 400 vehicles, primarily tractor-trailers. In the end, more than 25% were ordered off the road, including one big rig that weighed 12 tons more than the legal limit. Police also issued 115 traffic citations and 251 warnings.

The average U.S. passenger vehicle weighs roughly 5,000 pounds, while semi trucks and big rigs can legally weigh 80,000 pounds. As our attorneys know, when the two meet in a crash, the results often are deadly.

This is the reason we have state and federal laws designed to protect the public by maintaining strict qualifications for drivers and minimum safety standards for their trucks. Unfortunately, the trucking industry is doing a great disservice to the public by issuing early warnings for inspections and flaunting the rules with so-called “Roadcheck Vacations.”

For the average driver, the smart way to approach Roadcheck is to be particularly careful in the days and weeks following the inspection period.

Related info:

It’s time for CVSA Roadcheck, but are the most dangerous trucks being inspected?

Steven Gursten Photo

About Steve Gursten

Attorney Steven Gursten is president of the Motor Vehicle Trial Lawyers Association and past president of the American Association for Justice Trucking Litigation Group. He has been named a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Leader in the Law" for his efforts to prevent truck accidents and promote national truck safety. Steve was also a Michigan Lawyers Weekly "Lawyer of the Year" for a record settlement in a truck accident case. He has received the top reported truck accident jury verdict and top reported truck accident settlement in Michigan for multiple years, according to published year-end compilations of all jury verdicts and personal injury settlements by Michigan Lawyers Weekly. He has been named a "Top 50 Super Lawyer," by SuperLawyers, is listed in Best Lawyers in America, and has been awarded an AV-rating by Martindale-Hubbell, which is the highest rating for legal ability and ethics. Steve speaks to lawyers throughout the country on truck accident litigation. He is a founding member of the Truck Accident Attorneys Roundtable, head of Michigan Auto Law, and has dedicated his legal career to making our roads safer.
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