Posted by John in La on September 22, 2012 at 23:10:12 from (188.8.131.52):
Lets look at DOT inspections and decide if it is really money or safety behind road side inspections.
First off the federal DOT has done a lot for safety over the years. CDL drivers license and federally mandated drug testing has got a lot of bad drivers off the road. Just ask any of the old guys about had to be there freight or having 2 drivers license; one for all your speeding tickets and one to give to your employer. Accident rates are way down from years ago. We as truck drivers live by rules the general public would never go along with; not in a million years. So one could say it is all about safety. Then you look at some of the off the wall tickets that are given out and you have to wonder if it is really about safety. One must wonder if inspections have caused companies to repair their trucks to the point of things have to be made up to produce revenue. It has gotten so crazy in the past few years that not only is the company ticketed for violations but it also goes on the drivers record; and this is for things the driver has no control over.
So lets look at what started this in the first place. John Q Public complained years ago about truck safety because when a truck has a accident; people die and it is usually not the truck driver. John Q Public complained and complained to his elected officials so much that the government knew something had to be done.
Then you have a situation like I saw Friday and you have to sit back and wonder what is really going on inside the DOT.
I was going down the interstate (east) coming up on a section of highway that is known to be a DOT inspection hotspot. I see these guys in this same section of highway everyday. There was a truck just pulling off the road side on the other side (west) of the interstate. The DOT state trooper cuts threw the neutral ground behind me (east) and is going a little faster than me so he passes me up. I follow him for about 5 miles and he cuts back threw the neutral ground and parks on the shoulder (west) waiting for his next victim. No big deal unless you consider the truck we both past in the 5 mile section going east. This guy had a small pickup with a 5x8 trailer behind it. He has the trailer loaded down with so many cinder blocks and bags of mortar that the trailer hitch was almost scraping on the ground. If he would have had safety chains hooked up they would have been dragging on the ground. He is doing all he can to keep it straight in the road and still run about 40 or 45 mph because the trailer is fishing tailing from the speed and overweight. Now keep in mind this is a section of highway that is posted 70 mph. The DOT state trooper just goes by him never giving it a second look.
So is it really about safety or money. This DOT cop was clearly working. He had just let one truck go and was setting up for his next victim. If it was about safety you would think the cop would have stopped this accident waiting to happen pickup because he was dangerously overweight. Even if it was about money you would think the cop would have stopped this pickup because it was a guaranteed ticket with no hard work involved.
So what is it really about?? Here is my take………. DOT enforcement was ramped up years ago to deal with trucks because of complaints. Enforcement has gotten so well that stupid tickets must be written just to give these guys something to do. If it were ever determined that trucks are so safe that we are doing 25 inspections a day and only coming up with 1 real violation jobs would be lost. So a morning briefing would be something like this…… You guys go out there and make up stuff if you have to because your cushy state job depends on it. But lets keep in mind we want to target big trucks only because most of these guys are from out of state. We definitely what to stay away from John Q Public because he is most times local. Remember most out of state guys will just pay a ticket and move on rather than fight it; local guys are more likely to fight it in court and we definitely do not want to irritate the locals. They can hurt us where it counts; in the voting booth.
I can quote you times I have been told by the DOT that they would not write tickets to everyday citizens even though there was a clear violation because it was not a CMV. So is it really about money or safety; or is it about making as many cushy state jobs as we can.
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