Surprise Inspections, Safety Violations and Tips for Preparation

by Jana Ritter - Published: 3/07/2013

On Tuesday, officers from the Fairfax County Police Department's Motor Carrier Safety Section surprised truck drivers with random safety inspections and of the 27 trucks stopped; they took 13 out of service.  Finding 104 violations in total, they made 30 out of service violations, including 20 tickets as well. This was only the latest example of what can happen when the Motor Carrier Safety Section conduct these general safety inspections to make sure trucks meet all federal and local requirements. 


Last week Arizona surprised 826 truck drivers who were pulled over during the state’s Feb. 27-28 “Operation Southern Shield,” an inspection blitz conducted on I-10 between the Maricopa/Pinal County line to the Arizona / New Mexico border. The 826 inspections resulted in a total of 109 drivers placed out of service. The Arizona Department of Public Safety said the majority of those drivers were sidelined for log violations, with just 11 cited for either driving with suspended licenses and or otherwise disqualified from operating commercial trucks. The vehicle-related infractions included brake, light, steering, suspension, tire and securement violations — placed 44 trucks out of service as well.

The agencies collaborating on the inspection, the Arizona DPS and enforcement and compliance division of the state Department of Transportation, also conducted a public training program in an effort to prevent commercial vehicle collisions. Setting up booths at the Triple T Truck Stop in Tucson and the Wal-Mart parking lot in Marana, the agencies provided commercial drivers, as well as the general public, educational materials and answered questions concerning a number of related issues. Some of the programs focused on the dangers of driving in blind spots and too close to commercial vehicles, seatbelt usage, the “Move Over” law and log book and equipment-related issues. More than 150 people, including truckers, attended these sessions, DPS said.

While these programs are certainly beneficial to everyone if they result in safer roadways for all, truck drivers can take the necessary steps to avoid violations when getting pulled over by surprise.

• Truck Driver Medical Certificate Violations – If you keep the medical card in the truck and happen to be outside with an LEO, he could cite you for not having a certificate.
• Truck Driver Record of Duty Status – Don't get caught without citing a shipper's document number and commodity on your log sheet.
• Semi Truck Seat Belt Use – Use them. Keep the seat belt fastened until directed to produce your license and registration. It's a hassle otherwise.
• Truck Driver Eye Sight/Corrective Lenses – Drivers have been cited for not wearing their glasses when entering a scale house or otherwise in the presence of an LEO.
• Semi Truck Periodic Inspection Documents – Each commercial truck and trailer must undergo an annual periodic inspection and carry documentation in the vehicle.
• Class 8 HAZMAT Shipping – Every driver who accepts for transportation a hazardous material for which a shipping paper is required must have the shipping paper and emergency response information readily available ON the truck.