MARYVILLE - Starting today, the Illinois Department of Transportation’s (IDOT) Commercial Vehicle Safety Unit is partnering with Illinois State Police (ISP) for 72 hours of stepped-up roadside inspections of commercial trucks and buses as part of the National Roadcheck 2013 Enforcement Program. The program, which runs June 4-6, is the largest targeted enforcement campaign of its kind focusing on trucks and buses nationwide.
Last year, the national Roadcheck program, which also extends into Canada and Mexico, conducted more than 74,000 truck and driver inspections, placing 20.9 percent of the vehicles out of service for mechanical issues and taking 4.6 percent of the drivers out of service for various safety regulation infractions, according to the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.
“Safety is our top priority here at IDOT and these roadside inspections will help us keep Illinois roads safe by making sure commercial trucks and buses are working properly and ensuring that drivers are following regulations,” said Illinois Transportation Secretary Ann L. Schneider. “We want to thank the many truck drivers who go the extra mile to do their part to be safe and would like to ask all motorists to be mindful of trucks on the roads.”
Now in its 26th year, the Roadcheck program has resulted in one million roadside inspections nationwide. In addition, educational materials have been distributed and many safety events have been held to help educate motorists about the importance of safe commercial vehicle operation and the roadside inspection program.
Throughout 2012, the joint IDOT and ISP inspections program conducted 54,474 roadside inspections statewide, including totals during Roadcheck 2012. Of those inspections, 89,359 violations were cited with 17,066 trucks taken out of service until needed corrections were made.
According to the Federal Highway Administration, in 2011, 4,497,731 trucks were registered in Illinois as well as 33,428 private, commercial and public buses.
Roadcheck 2013 is placing special emphasis on motor coach inspections and overall traffic enforcement statewide. Roadside inspectors will be looking for proof that drivers are complying with hours-of-service and vehicle inspection regulations, as well as verifying that trucks meet current equipment requirements and are up-to-date on maintenance and inspections. On average, Roadcheck details result in more than three times as many inspections performed each day than any other day outside of this emphasis period.
The inspections are designed to ensure both the trucker’s safety and the safety of others traveling on the highways. Inspectors check the condition of vehicle brakes, coupling devices, fuel and exhaust systems, frames, van and open-top trailers, securement of cargo, steering, suspension, tires, wheels, rims and hubs. The costs associated with being taken out of service are insignificant when compared to the costs of equipment-related crashes. Out of service repairs cost $861 on average to bring vehicles into compliance.
Trucking firms typically are proactive and inspect vehicles thoroughly before, during and following each trip. They are ultimately responsible for their own truck safety as well as safety of the motoring public. Nationwide in 2012, large trucks and buses accounted for 5,311 crashes. Those crashes included 121 fatalities and 3,608 injuries.
Motorists too must do their part in sharing the road, being proactive and following these safe driving guidelines:
• Be extra alert as you approach a large truck. Trucks behave very differently from cars.
• Avoid blind spots around trucks. If you can't see a truck's side mirrors, the truck driver can't see you. One-third of all crashes between large trucks and cars take place in the blind spots around a truck.
• Do not pass a truck on the right while the truck is turning right. Trucks often must swing wide to the left to negotiate right turns safely, as the rear wheels follow a shorter path than the front wheels.
• Do not cut in front of any large vehicle, including a truck or a bus. Since they require much more distance to stop in comparison to cars, forcing a large vehicle to stop quickly can result in a serious crash.
• Use the proper procedure to pass a large truck or bus on the highway. Accelerate slightly and maintain a consistent speed while passing. Wait until you can see the entire cab in your rear-view mirror before signaling and pulling in front of it.
• Observe a truck's turn signals before trying to pass it. If the truck appears to be starting a left turn or lane change, be sure of the truck’s signal before passing the truck.
• Give trucks at least four to six seconds of space in wet conditions and at highway speeds.
• Do not cut off a truck in traffic or on the highway to reach your exit or turn.