DOT Inspections

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No doubt, truckers are responsible in many ways for keeping this country moving, from the food we eat to the cars we drive are transported via big rigs.

Transportation officials will be taking a closer look at those heavy haulers over the next few days.

For the next three days, commercial vehicle drivers all over North America will be spending some unscheduled time with law enforcement.

Jeff Frost of the Department of Transportation said, "During the next 72 hours DOT officers will be working around the clock inspecting commercials vehicles like this in an attempt to remove unsafe vehicles from the roadways and reduce the number of crashes."

These inspections are part of Road Check 2006. They're designed to promote safety and security on major highways from Mexico to Canada.

It's sponsored by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, even though it's not always the commercial vehicles causing problems on our roads.

"Studies show that most fatal crashes, when it's a commercial vehicle, it's usually the actions of the noncommercial vehicle that caused the crash."

The average inspection here at the weigh station in Sneads takes anywhere from 10 minutes to an hour, but drivers say if it makes these roads safer it's worth the wait.

Mary Netterville, a commercial truck driver, says, "Sometimes there are things that I might not see; this way when you are inspected, whether it be a man or a woman; if there's anything they'll find it and get it corrected."

And officers aren't looking just for vehicles’ defects.

"We're also checking the driver's qualifications and hours of service, making sure he's properly licensed to drive that vehicle, making sure he hasn't driven too long, to make sure he's not fatigued."

Last year about five percent of drivers checked were put out of service. Experts say every year there are more than 400,000 crashes in the United States involving heavy trucks.