Park City Police Officer, Ben Powers is a certified vehicle inspector through an intergovernmental program that includes Canada, Mexico and the US. He finished the lengthy certification process about a year ago and he says they’ve held several joint operations with UHP. This event focused on the two entry corridors into Park City. Officers were stationed throughout the day on SR 248 and 224 and if they identified a violation, they escorted the driver to the high school parking lot where their truck and trailer was inspected. They’re primarily were looking for egregious safety violations.
"So, for the driver, it could be anything from not having the proper driving credentials, drivers license, drivers license type. Expired medical cards. Over their hours in driving. Those are kind of the basic ones for the driver. And, the vehicle could be anything from bad drive lines, bad tires, bad brakes."
They performed 32 inspections and took 18 vehicles out of service. 181 violations were registered. The Department of Transportation uses a scoring system to track commercial trucking violations. Too many can reflect on their insurance rates and if a company has repeated violations, the DOT will do an audit. Utah Highway Patrol Officer Bryce Ivy covers a four-county area that includes Wasatch and Summit Counties. He says UDOT and UHP are the lead agencies that do most of the commercial vehicle safety enforcement.
“But there are city agencies, such as Park City and others that go through and certify. So, we like to get out and work with them and do these projects. And, a lot of times it’s targeting specific areas where we’re getting a lot of complaints or seeing safety issues.”
The inspections can take an hour to an hour and a half. Local drivers may not have as much experience with compliance and Ivy says it can be educational for a lot of the commercial drivers.
“The other thing that’s good about in-state trucks that don’t go through port of entryies, is that they don’t get looked at as much and so we typically tend to find more violations. You know, like your local dump trucks and your dirt haulers and things like that may never go through a port of entry and be subject to inspections at those facilities.”
Drivers are responsible for daily inspection, checking brakes, lights and basic maintenance on their rigs at the beginning of their shift. They find a lot of landscaping businesses that don’t secure their loads and have frequent mechanical problems on the trailers. Also, some vehicles are registered with the DOT, but they don’t have a number in view. Powers says they do the same complete inspection from front to back on each vehicle brought in.