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Safety statistic for commercial trucks that you don’t want to see

All of us who drive passenger vehicles in Maricopa County and throughout other regions of Arizona and the United States have an instant appreciation for what large commercial trucks bring to the traffic mix.

For starters, they command the close and unflagging attention of all motorists on the road. They’re big, they take up lots of space, they have notable blind spots and, well, they hardly stop on a dime.

And, second, commercial truckers are by definition involved in business-related activity. That is, they’re on a schedule that does not reward leisured driving activity.

Put another way: Drivers of tractor trailers, 18-wheel rigs and other commercial vehicles often have a long way to go and a limited amount of time to get there. They don’t dawdle.

For such reasons, drivers of smaller vehicles logically have bona-fide concerns — coupled with heightened hopes — that commercial rigs are duly safe as their drivers put in long hours on Arizona roads and national interstates.

Many of them aren’t.

Here’s the above statistic referenced in this post’s headline: According to a group that focuses upon commercial vehicle safety throughout North America, more than 14 percent of all commercial motor vehicles recently taken off the road for random brake inspections stayed off the road. That is, their brakes were deemed to be so substandard that they were ordered out of service.

That is sobering, and especially so because the inspection effort applied to far more than a token number of vehicles. In fact, the Operation Airbrake initiative carried out by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance checked the brakes on 6,337 vehicles from across the United States and Canada.

The results clearly reveal that more stringent efforts need to be made to ensure commercial vehicle safety and to penalize drivers and transportation companies that fail to comply with safety requirements.

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