Oregon trucking enforcement officials conducted detailed inspections of commercial drivers’ log books and vehicles last month, resulting in 22 percent of big-rig drivers being placed out of service. Most of the violations involved driving too long without taking a mandatory rest break.
Federal and Oregon trucking regulations demand that drivers keep track of the hours they stay behind the wheel before taking a rest break. Because driver fatigue is a factor in so many truck crashes, the Oregon Department of Transportation focuses on inspecting log books to help curb Oregon truck accidents.
From October 17 – 22, ODOT trucking safety officials conducted 1,037 inspections at a number of sites on major Oregon highways. They put 231 drivers out of service, and found 49 vehicles with safety violations that put them out of service. When drivers are placed out of service, they must take a mandatory rest break or correct other safety violations before they can drive again.
In 2010, Oregon had 1,155 crashes involving commercial vehicles, with the driver at fault in 536 accidents. Only 38 crashes were the result of a truck mechanical failure.
Oregon typically has a much higher driver out-of-service rate than the national average of about 6 percent. But that’s not because the state has a disproportionate number of unsafe drivers. Oregon truck inspectors simply find more violations during regular inspections, partly due to elaborate record-keeping that lets officials thoroughly investigate any individual driver or vehicle. Inspectors are also trained to observe drivers’ behavior at weigh stations and single out those who seem tired or distracted.