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Roadside Inspections Ensure Trucks Are Safe for Pennsylvania Roads

Each year, the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration presents the Safety Enforcement Improvement Award to the state police force showing the most improvement in cost efficiency and traffic enforcement in its truck safety enforcement program. Pennsylvania state police won the 2012 award for the strides they have made in keeping unsafe commercial vehicles off state roads and preventing commercial vehicle accidents through the Pennsylvania Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program.

Inspection Program

The goal of the Pennsylvania Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program is to reduce the number of accidents, injuries and fatalities related to trucks and other commercial vehicles. The program is a joint effort among the Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association, state police and the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The program is funded by federal grants and seeks to implement consistent measures with a proven track record of efficacy, such as roadside inspections.

Pennsylvania State Police have over 30 full-time commercial vehicle enforcement teams, each consisting of 2 to 3 officers. Teams inspect up to 10 commercial vehicles such as buses and tractor-trailers each day. The roadside inspections last between 30 and 90 minutes. Police were able to conduct over 93,000 inspection in 2010 alone – a 14 percent increase from the number of inspection in 2009.

Inspection Levels

Teams can conduct seven different levels of inspection when they stop a vehicle. Level I inspections are the most thorough, covering everything about the vehicle, including load paperwork, log books, vehicle weight, tire condition, brakes, lights, signals and exhaust.

Keeping Unsafe Trucks off Roads

Owners of vehicles with safety violations can incur stiff penalties. Weight violations carry fines that range from $50 to many thousands of dollars, depending how overweight the vehicle is. Paperwork errors can cost drivers $111 and companies $136. Brake and exhaust violation fines can run up to $1,000.

Perhaps the most effective weapon the enforcement teams have for ensuring safe roadways is the ability to make commercial trucks remain parked until the drivers fix the safety hazards.

Contact an Attorney

Despite their best efforts, Pennsylvania authorities cannot keep all unsafe commercial vehicles off the state’s roads. If you have been injured in an accident with a commercial vehicle, seek the assistance of an adept personal injury lawyer who has experience with such cases to help you recover just and proper compensation.

Attorney Cliff Rieders

Attorney Cliff RiedersCliff Rieders is a Nationally Board Certified Trial Lawyer practicing personal injury law. A large part of his practice involves multi-district litigation, including cases related to pharmaceuticals, vitamin supplements and medical devices. He is admitted in several state and federal courts, as well as the Supreme Court of the United States. Rieders is the past regional president of the Federal Bar Association and is a life member of the distinguished American Law Institute, which promulgates proposed rules adopted by many state courts. He is a past president of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, formerly Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association. As a founder of the Pennsylvania Patient Safety Authority, he served on the Board for 15 years.

Not only has Rieders held many highly esteemed, leadership positions, he authored legislation related to the Patient Safety Authority and the Mcare Act, which governs medical and hospital liability actions in Pennsylvania. He authored texts upon which both practitioners and judges rely, including Pennsylvania Malpractice Laws and Forms, and Financial Responsibility Law Issues in Pennsylvania, the latter governing auto and truck collisions in Pennsylvania. In addition, he wrote several books on the practice of law in Pennsylvania regarding wrongful death and survivor actions, insurance bad faith, legal malpractice claims and worker rights, among others. Rieders also serves as a resource to practitioners as a regular speaker for Celesq, an arm of the world’s largest legal publisher, Thomson Reuters West Publishing.

As recognition of his wide range of contribution to his profession and of his dedication to protecting the rights of his clients, he received numerous awards, among them the George F. Douglas Amicus Curiae Award, the Milton D. Rosenberg Award, the B’nai B’rith Justice Award, and awards of recognition from the Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers. [ Attorney Bio ]