There was a computer-assisted investigation by the U.S. Department of Transportation using heavy truck inspection data from 2003 to 2008 for Northwest Indiana. Some of the statistics are startling and are derived from State Police and Federal Inspectors checking 34,856 heavy trucks (i.e. semi trailers, buses and other heavy commercial vehicles) in Lake and Porter counties in Northwest Indiana between 2003 and 2008.
Of those trucks 8,929, more than 1 in 4, were found to have safety violations deemed serious enough to take the trucks or drivers out of service. There is an estimated 2 million heavy trucks per year that pass through the trucking corridors of Interstate 80/94 and Interstate 65 alone in that territory and the resources to keep up with these truck inspection issues are shrinking.
Another serious violation that has occurred thousands and thousands of times is missing or faulty driver log books or drivers who went over the federal standard for consecutive hours worked without a break. Unfortunately, sleep and driver fatigue continues to be common with over-the-road truck drivers. Truck drivers operating their vehicles for more than 11 hours straight can be more prone to sleepiness or fatigue leading to distraction, daydreaming or cause a driver’s eyes to drift downward according to fatigue experts.
In Northwest Indiana alone, more than 1,400 violations were recorded over six years for truckers operating their rigs beyond the 11-hour regulation. Statistics show that accidents involving these commercial vehicles occur at the end of longer hauls and more specifically within 20 minutes of their final destination when truckers are most tired or distracted from the fatigue. That data has been gathered by a sleep and driver fatigue expert, Carolyn Shur, of Canada-based Schur Goode Associates. State Police Inspectors in this region are hoping that the random possibility of having roving patrols in and around weigh stations will be enough to bolster the trucker’s and their companies’ compliance with the DOT regulations.