The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) has released its annual summary of large truck and bus statistics – inspections, investigations, violations resulting in out of service conditions, and general industry information. The report provides a snapshot of the data that drives the agency’s goal to reduce crashes, injuries and fatalities involving commercial motor vehicles (CMVs).

The 2018 Pocket Guide to Large Truck and Bus Statistics is a compilation of data from the 3.5 million roadside inspections conducted in 2017. At the forefront of CMV inspections are state-level inspectors, who, the guide notes, conduct 96% of all inspections. To help put the numbers into perspective, PrePass spoke with Collin Mooney, executive director of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), an association comprised of commercial motor vehicle safety officials and trucking industry representatives who are CVSA associate members.

The number of inspections last year represented an increase of 50,000 from the year before, but a drop of 56,000 from the inspection totals in 2013. On a parallel point, the guide also shows that the numbers of state-level inspectors  have steadily declined since 2014.

The pocket guide lists the more frequent violations uncovered by those 3.5 million inspections. On the driver side, the top violation in 2017 was hours of service (HOS) “form and manner” errors – driver logs incorrectly maintained. Mooney readily agreed that the full implementation of electronic logging devices (ELDs) will significantly reduce “form and manner” violations when results from 2018 are compiled.

On the vehicle side, the number one violation was “operating a vehicle not having the required operable lamps,” meaning missing or burned-out lights. Mooney said that only a fraction of the  number of such violations were assessed incorrectly on lights that are not required by federal regulations. The advent of LED lights has certainly reduced “burned-out” bulbs, according to Mooney, but he noted CVSA has yet to agree on how many LED diodes must be out before the whole lamp is considered inoperable, incurring a violation.

The pocket guide concludes with an overview of transportation industry numbers – more trucks, more mileage, and smaller fleet size, with over 86% of interstate trucking fleets having no safety rating on record. Combined with the increased use of advanced technologies in trucks, CMV inspectors and CVSA as an organization have challenges ahead.