MINERAL WELLS- Inspectors will be checking commercial vehicles traveling along Interstate 77, looking at safety issues as part of a 72-hour concentrated safety check event being held throughout North America.
Starting just after midnight Tuesday, Roadcheck 2012 began across the United States, Canada and Mexico. The event is sponsored by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA). Inspections were being conducted locally at weigh stations along I-77 outside Mineral Wells.
Roadcheck is the largest targeted enforcement program on commercial vehicles in the world, with approximately 14 trucks or buses being inspected, on average, every minute from Canada to Mexico during a 72-hour period in early June, CVSA officials said.
Photo by Jeff Baughan
West Virginia Transportation Division Enforcement officer C. Gast gets under a truck Tuesday as part of an inspection.
Each year, approximately 10,000 CVSA-certified local, state, provincial and federal inspectors at 1,500 locations across North America perform the truck and bus inspections, officials said.
The program, which was implemented in the mid-1980s, has resulted in more than 220 lives saved and 4,045 injuries avoided, CVSA officials said.
Roadcheck involves inspecting commercial vehicles, checking brake system maintenance, and preventing driver fatigue by checking drivers' hours of service, officials said.
Inspectors are looking for unsafe equipment, unsafe drivers and other issues regarding the safe operation of these vehicles on the highways, said Reggie Bunner, a manager with the transportation section of the West Virginia Public Service Commission, who was heading up inspection efforts at the I-77 weigh station near Mineral Wells.
"The goal is to remove unsafe vehicles and reduce fatalities," Bunner said. "We are raising awareness for all vehicles and drivers.
"We want to make the highways safer for everybody."
Every commercial vehicle traveling along the interstate will be pulling through the weigh station with a number randomly inspected as needed, Bunner said.
During last year's initiative, the state inspected 777 commercial vehicles, PSC officials said. Of those, 110 were deemed unsafe and taken off the road.
There are 65 inspectors participating in the effort statewide with West Virginia State Police troopers conducting inspections around the Beckley area.
Throughout the year, more than 31,000 safety inspections are done on commercial vehicles, Bunner said. Around 30 percent were stopped due to concerns.
"If it is a serious violation, the vehicle will not leave until it is repaired," he said.
Roadcheck inspections will continue through midnight Thursday.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.