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Eagle Ford: Trucks fail to meet safety guidelines
Each summer, the Texas Department of Public Safety partners with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) in an effort to make Texas highways safer. Each summer, DPS troopers find that up to 25 percent of the trucks they inspect fail to meet basic safety regulations.
“Nearly a quarter of the commercial vehicles on the road in Texas don’t meet safety rules,” said Craig Brown, a local attorney who focuses on trucking safety and has several clients in the Karnes County area. “If any other area of our transportation system had this kind of record, there would be an outcry. Instead, we just accept poor trucking safety as the price of doing business.”
The 2013 inspections took place in early June. According to a Texas DPS press release, more than 21 percent of the more than 9,200 trucks and buses inspected over the three-day period failed to meet safety requirements.
“Most of the problems related to faulty brakes and defective lighting,” explained Brown. “Those are the kinds of things we often see in trucks in Texas, especially near oil fields like the Eagle Ford shale where trucking companies often cut corners to meet demand.”
In addition to mechanical issues, the press release noted that 248 drivers were cited for improper logging of duty time, driving over the maximum number of hours, and failing to have the proper type of driver license for the vehicle being driven.
“What’s especially amazing is that Operation Roadcheck has been held at about the same time every year for decades, and it’s promoted very heavily by the CVSA before hand,” said Brown. “Yet, each year, nearly a quarter of the commercial vehicles the DPS inspects don’t pass.”
Brown noted that the 2013 results are not unusual. In 2012, more than 22 percent of the commercial vehicles on the road in Texas failed, though fewer vehicles were inspected. In 2011, the safety failure rate was 26 percent.
The Texas DPS has a separate project called Texas Thunder. Under this project, DPS troopers focus on specific geographic areas in an effort to curb unsafe commercial vehicles. In 2011 alone, troopers conducted 331,500 inspections, sidelined 66,189 vehicles, or just over 20 percent, and removed 12,300 drivers from the roads.
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