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Almost half of safety violations are hours of service related

To prevent truck accidents and save lives, truck drivers and trucking companies are subject to a large body of regulations. In the last few years, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA), the federal agency responsible for trucking safety and a private organization with similar goals, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA) have worked together to check on truckers to assess the level of safety compliance across the industry.

The “Roadcheck 2014,” occurred during three days in early June, and according to the director of the CVSA, there was no “major story” from the event, but there were some “worrying trends” across the industry that could influence truck accidents

Fewer vehicles were placed out of service (OOS), with 18.7 percent as compared with the 20.6 percent removed from service last year. However, there was an increase in the number of truck drivers who were found with OOS violations, up 0.5 percent to 4.8 percent.

Hours of service (HOS) violations remain a problem. While the numbers dropped slightly from 50.3 to 46.5. HOS govern how long a truck driver may remain behind the wheel and how many hours they can drive in a week. They are a contentious subject and have been subject to decades of litigation by the trucking industry.

For years, HOS have been tracked by paper logbooks drivers were required to keep, detailing all of their activities while driving. They have been notoriously subject to fraud, with some drivers keeping two sets of logs.

The number of false logbooks violations declined from 14.8 percent to 13.7 percent. This may be attributed to the increasing use of electronic logging devices (ELD), that many trucking companies already use. These ELDs track all of the movement of ht truck, making it easy to reconstruct a driver’s activity, and difficult to manipulate.

Also troubling was an increase in disqualified drivers, with an 8 percent rise since 2012. Tires and brake safety violations made of the majority of mechanical violations, some of which increased from last year.

While not “major,” any of these issues could contribute to a truck accident and are they types of things investigators examine after a truck accident.

Fleet Owner, “Roadcheck 2014 spotlights several truck safety trends,” Sean Kilcarr, August 18, 2014 

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