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Ever wonder how safe big trucks are when they whiz by you on the road?
So does the Public Service Commission.
The PSC highways enforcement team will be checking brakes on big trucks and buses during Brake Safety Week, which runs Aug. 20-26.
The team will emphasize inspections along Interstate 81 in Berkeley County. But they will also be at work on I-64 at Winfield in Putnam County and on I-77 at Mineral Wells in Wood County.
“We will be performing level-one inspections on commercial motor vehicles during Brake Safety Week,” said Sgt. A.W. Ryan of the enforcement section.
This is an extensive inspection process using Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s 37-step inspection guidance, beginning with the driver’s credentials and hours of service for compliance.
“We crawl under the truck to inspect the vehicle for mechanical defects of any kind, putting an emphasis on the brakes to make sure they are in proper working order,” Ryan said.
The inspections can take up to an hour to complete according to Ryan.
The West Virginia program is part of a national effort with the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, based in Washington, D.C., with an emphasis on brake lining/pad violations. Trucks with faulty equipment are sidelined until those defects are corrected.
The goal is to reduce the number of highway crashes and to educate drivers, mechanics, owner-operators and others on the importance of proper brake inspection, maintenance and operation.
“I have been out with these dedicated inspectors,” PSC Chairman Charlotte Lane said. “I’ve donned the smock and gone under the vehicles. The work they do is essential to highway safety in West Virginia.”
Last year, state inspectors examined 342 vehicles and removed 22 from service. Nationally, inspectors conducted 38,117 inspections last year and 13.3 percent of those removed from service for brake-related violations.