1 in 4 trucks driving in oil country have violationsA recent commercial vehicle inspection done by the North Dakota Highway Patrol and Federal Motor Safety Administration found that one in four trucks driving in oil country had safety violations serious enough to put the vehicles out of service.
By: Klark Byrd, The Dickinson Press
A recent commercial vehicle inspection done by the North Dakota Highway Patrol and Federal Motor Safety Administration found that one in four trucks driving in oil country had safety violations serious enough to put the vehicles out of service.
A three-day inspection held in Mountrail and Williams counties found that 57 of 224 commercial vehicles tested had equipment deficiencies that deemed them unfit for the road.
NDHP Lt. Kyle Kirchmeier said the majority of vehicles tested were oil-field related traffic and a few agricultural vehicles.
Violations ranged from cracked vehicle frames to brakes that were out of adjustment and not working properly, Kirchmeier said.
The NDHP took on the saturation testing because of the increased number of commercial vehicles that have been working in the western part of the state due to oil activity, Kirchmeier said, but the results exceeded expectations.
“We were hoping there weren’t that many violations,” he said. “The high volume of traffic is going 24/7 in the area, so the condition of the equipment is obviously a concern for safety with us.”
In addition to the equipment violations, there were 26 vehicles found overloaded and exceeding legal weight limits, as well as five drivers that were placed out of service for violations.
Dunn County Sheriff Don Rockvoy was alarmed to hear the number of violations. Rockvoy said he worked in the trucking industry for 10 years and equipment violations are inexcusable.
“The equipment thing is something that shouldn’t be that high,” he said. “The owners and drivers need to be doing daily inspections. They should have checked more closely because it is a safety concern for the drivers and the public.”
Roads and trucks are built to specifications that allow certain loads to be hauled depending on the tire size and length of the vehicle. Excessive weight expedites the break down of roads.
Kirchmeier said there has been an increase in the amount of vehicles found overloaded.
Kody Garza, a mechanic and back-up truck driver for West Plains Implement, said that trucks are damaged by rough road conditions and drivers need to be aware of the loads they are hauling.
“Overloading really takes a toll on the road and the trucks as well,” he said. “All the weak points start to show up.”
Stark County Sheriff Clarence Tuhy said Mountrail and Williams have more truck traffic, but that Stark County has seen an increased number of overloaded trucks.
“In the long run, it is costing the taxpayers,” he said. “If these companies or drivers are running in excess road limits, they are causing damage to the roads, which are paid for by the county and the taxpayers.”
Tuhy said that using the saturation inspection makes the public more aware of enforcement, and that it might be something to consider doing at the county level.
Kirchmeier said 12 inspectors worked at the check and that this was one of the largest evaluations. He added that others will be planned throughout the year
“It is a concern for us and that is why we will continue to do inspections throughout the year,” he said.