Safety & Compliance

CVSA Takes Issue with ATA Call for More Traffic Enforcement

April 24, 2013

By Oliver Patton

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Traffic enforcement alone only gets to one of the CSA BASICs, but traffic enforcement with an inspection gets to the three BASICs that are most closely tied with risk, says CVSA.
Traffic enforcement alone only gets to one of the CSA BASICs, but traffic enforcement with an inspection gets to the three BASICs that are most closely tied with risk, says CVSA.

A trucking leader’s call for police to put more emphasis on traffic enforcement rather than roadside inspections yielded a polite “thank you” from the enforcement community – and disagreement with some of his message.

Traffic enforcement is important, but it must be done in concert with vehicle and driver inspections, said Stephen Keppler, executive director of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.

Keppler was responding to a speech to CVSA this week by Phil Byrd, president of Bulldog Highway Express and first vice chairman of American Trucking Associations. Byrd said on-road traffic enforcement is the best way to improve safety, even if it means taking resources away from roadside inspections.

“We very much appreciated Phil Byrd’s presentation,” Keppler said in response to an email query. “We would agree with some of what he said, we do not agree with all of it.”

CVSA brings together police and other enforcement officials from the U.S., Canada and Mexico, as well as industry representatives, to set North American truck safety enforcement policies.

Keppler said traffic enforcement on trucks, buses and cars is effective, but it is part of a comprehensive enforcement effort that varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction based on specific needs.

He pointed out that traffic enforcement gets to only one of three categories of behavior closely associated with crash risk.

Under the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s CSA safety enforcement program, the categories of Unsafe Driving, Hours of Service Compliance and Vehicle Maintenance are closely tied to risk, he said.

“Traffic enforcement alone only gets to one of these (Behavioral Analysis and Safety Improvement Categories), whereas traffic enforcement with an inspection gets to all three,” he said.

Keppler also took issue with Byrd’s assertion that traffic enforcement has been falling in relation to other types of enforcement.

The data on that point is not accurate, Keppler said.

“We, ATA and FMCSA have discussed this issue and FMCSA is looking into it. ATA knows this.”




  1. 1. nick [ April 25, 2013 @ 06:00AM ]

    Duh! The money maker is inspections. Its also laziness. Id rather speeding, tailgating driver be cited than have an inspector inspect our truck for an hour to find a lousy marker light out.

  2. 2. sunshine [ April 25, 2013 @ 06:30AM ]

    exactly nick they are marking the trucks as targets instead of some of the 4 wheelers who don't care. which yes trucks make higher tickets cost so it ends up being a MONEY GAME

  3. 3. pope [ April 25, 2013 @ 07:27AM ]

    Exactly. As I backed out of my driveway a couole of days ago and hit my brakes I got a warning light that one of my brakelights was out. Trucks dont have those that I know of. But did I stop and fix it before I came on in to work? I think we know the answer, but if I'd been driving a tracctor trailer, I would have had problems. I work near the port and there are ALWAYS DOT officers (yes plural) on my route to work with trucks pulled every day.

  4. 4. Jay [ April 25, 2013 @ 02:06PM ]

    From the enforcement side of the situation, I'd like to offer the following observations as they relate to CA. Inspections alone do not generate ANY income from fines. Citations generate revenue. As a matter of fact, a citation alone does not go against a CSA score, only an inspection will count against a CSA score.

    In my former jurisdiction (retired now), the bail amounts are set by the county and there is no difference between a CMV and other vehicles for the same violation. What is different is the point count. There is an extra 1/2 point for the CMV.

    Why not spend enforcement time where there is the largest concentration of CMVs? If your job is to perform commercial enforcement, you go to where you are most effective and concentrate on the commercial vehicles. However, I never had a reservation about writing a "4 wheeler."

  5. 5. tommyg [ April 26, 2013 @ 05:09AM ]

    My only comment to this and other issues concerning cmv's is at what point do we say enough is enough and push back. We all want to sit back and complain about over regulation but no one wants to do anything about it. We have control of this situation so once again I ask when are we going to push back. When this country has nothing to eat or gas to go to work then and only then will fmcsa and our so called gov't pay attention. It would ultimately be a win win for every one, the truckers and the consumer, because when the cost to operate goes down ( cost of fuel and gas) prices in the market place go down. Wake up people!!!!!!!!!!!

  6. 6. Peter D. Ohmart [ April 26, 2013 @ 06:24AM ]

    Truck inspections only a portion of the cure. No doubt we need them.

    As I see it though the larger problem is the drivers of cars and motorcycles:
    I have seen police watch as a motorcycle pass in between two cars on the interstate while one car is passing the other, parallel with the car and never got stopped.

    I have followed a suspected driver of DUI for 37 miles in Massachusetts and when I finally got the State Police to pull the car over, I received this statement when the State Police called me back "It was elderly gentleman who was cutting his dinner and eating, while talking on the cell phone and driving at 65 miles per hour. I spoke to him and he was not going to do it anymore".

    Lastly, ABC news has reported numerous times how 85% of all wrecks that happen between cars and large trucks are the fault of the car.

    These are all facts, not my subjective opinion. If we concentrate more on violations of cars, the highways would be safer.

    I feel the testing of people when receiving their license should real tests, not drive around the block, and this way we would not need cars that can parallel park for us. Lots to digest.

    Have a great day.

  7. 7. Don Lanier [ October 17, 2013 @ 03:28PM ]

    Its far easier and less costly to sit in a Weigh station and look for the obvious, but I agree that too many steering wheel holders BELIEVE they own the passing lane and they try and push trucks, cars down the road to get pass one more LAP CAR, far too many NASCAR TRAINED sunday drivers except there out there everyday, everywhere....there does need to be more rolling officers....but the will inspect you five times and not give you a sticker, then inspect you again and waste money and miss the obvious....CARS tailhgate me hourly, not daily, I get cut off hourly, cars swerve and dive and attempt to go around me in places where they shouldnt or know its illegal, But Im a truck, there a NASCAR TARINED driver and swooping, speeding and tailgaiting is there expertise.....FMCSA needs to target them....hourly...


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