Every year for the past 22 years, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance has performed a flurry of a random inspections over a three-day span called Roadcheck. With the cooperation of federal agencies here in the U.S., Canadian and Mexican transportation officials, and thousands of inspectors, a massive number of evaluations were made all across North America. The results have come in for Roadcheck 2010 and while the stats aren’t surprising, they show we still have a lot of work to do if we want to prevent truck accident injuries and fatalities.
The overall compliance rates for commercial vehicles was at 80 percent while drivers passed over 95 percent of the time. Focusing specifically on passenger-carrying vehicles, the compliance rate raises to 91 percent for the vehicle and 96 percent for the driver. Commercial shipping and hazardous materials transporters had vehicle compliance rates in the 76 to 83 percent range. Most of these compliance rates are very close to, if not the same as, the 2009 rates with only the passenger-carrying vehicle compliance rate showing an increase of more than a fraction of a percent.
Simply put, an 80 percent compliance rate should be considered unacceptable for the commercial trucking industry. That means that one out of every five trucks has a violation that could contribute to a deadly tractor trailer accident. How many big rigs do you pass on your daily highway commute? A dozen? More? Knowing that, statistically speaking, every fifth truck has a potentially dangerous vehicle violation should make the severity of this problem very clear.
If you were curious, the most common vehicle defects were brake related. About half of all the out-of-service violations were because of brake issues.