PRINCETON — As part of the International Roadcheck 2019 campaign, Public Service Commission Transportation Officers performed traffic stops on commercial vehicles Thursday in Mercer County to conduct thorough investigations.
The annual event is sponsored by both law enforcement agencies across North America as well as the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA). Throughout Canada, the United States, and Mexico, officers conducted traffic stops on commercial vehicles and performed extensive inspections of the drivers and their rigs. The officers inspected vehicles from midnight Tuesday until 11:59 p.m. Thursday.
According to Public Information Specialist Karen Hall, with the Public Service Commission of West Virginia, the Level 1 inspections consisted of 37-points. During the 2018 program, Public Service Commission officers performed 592 inspections. These inspections resulted in 79 vehicles being taken out of service.
Though complete safety is the intent of the program, this year’s focus was on suspension systems and steering.
“Anything we do is to further the safety and operational safety of commercial vehicles. Their safety ensures the safety of people who drive around them,” Hall said.
According to Hall, commercial vehicles include eighteen-wheelers, tour buses, large work vehicles, and others.
Aside from the suspension system and steering, other items inspected were tires, lights, safety straps, and more. Of the driver inspection, officers ensured that those operating the vehicles had their proper paperwork and the required amount of sleep. According to the Interstate Trucker’s Guide, drivers must take 30-minute breaks after every 8 hours of driving. Drivers are limited to a 14 hour on-duty period with only 11 hours of driving a day.
If a driver is pulled over during these inspections and taken out of service, they must leave their vehicle there until it meets the required standards. If a driver is required to catch up on sleep they may do so in allotted areas such as the Bluestone Travel Plaza.
“Inspections are extremely important. The number one goal is that everyone gets home safe. We want to reduce the number of accidents and increase the lives saved,” Hall said.
One of the drivers who was stopped during inspections at the Bluestone Travel Plaza, who wishes to remain anonymous, said he believes the state is taking power away from law enforcement. “I think they’re taking power away from them, law enforcement,” he said, “I’m a firm believer on running radar and using lasers.”
The man also stated that he believes speeding is a large part of the danger on the road. “About 10 to 15 years ago you saw local and highway guys radaring and people kept their speed down. Now there’s no restraint for the general public,” he said, “You see the skid marks going into the woods and you can pretty much figure out what happened.”
Though the program lasted only for 72 hours, officers work throughout the year to ensure safety according to Hall. In April and May of this year, PSC officers joined in the Governor’s Highway Safety Association to aid in the Distracted Driver and Click It or Ticket campaign. During these campaigns, PSC officers issued 233 citations to drivers and vehicles. Also on May 15, according to Hall, PSC officers performed 99 brake inspections throughout the state of W. Va. and took 13 vehicles out of service, as a part of CVSA’s Operation Airbrake.
— Contact Emily D. Coppola at firstname.lastname@example.org