Special Report: Big Rigs, Big Problems



Open recalls.

You find them on vehicles of every kind.

You get a notice in the mail for your car.

But what about the big rigs?

It turns out – they get that notice too.

The difference is … what happens next.

While 1 in 4 *personal* vehicles on the road has a safety issue that hasn't been fixed… commercial vehicles go through a much more vigorous maintenance process.

And it starts before each trip.

Each driver begins the day with a pre-trip safety inspection.

It's just the first of several procedures in place to check commercial vehicles.

Tom Balzer, Ohio Trucking Association says "If we're not on the road, we're not making money. We're not generating revenue."

Balzar promotes safety and education among carriers and suppliers across Ohio.

"That vehicle is our biggest asset that we have for our livelihood and the drivers know that. The fleets know that. The mechanics know that, so they want to be able to bring that truck in as soon as possible."

Scott Harrison, Driver, America's Road Team Captain says"Safety is number one."

With more than 2-and-a-half million miles under his belt as a professional driver, Harrison says pre-trip safety inspections, plus regularly scheduled maintenance of all vehicles, help truckers meet the industry's ultimate goal.

"To get the goods delivered and keep America moving in a timely fashion and to do it safely and efficiently."

But it's not just the trucking industry checking for issues.

Another line of defense… State Motor Carrier Enforcement Inspectors.

They check commercial vehicles on the road every day to make sure they're following federal safety regulations.

We followed along with the Highway Patrol as an inspector pulled over a big rig for a level one inspection – examining the entire truck.

Lt. Kelly Weakley, Ohio Highway Patrol says a level one inspection usually takes between 45 minutes to an hour"

From top.

To bottom.

Front to back.

The inspector even checks the driver's log to see how long he's been on the road.

The truck today passed with flying colors.

But Lt. Weakley showed us some examples of violations that could lead to a truck immediately being pulled out of service, such as poor tire tread.

"It's very important that everything is in proper working order to move on down the road."

With all of these protocols in place… a spokesperson with the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration said there is currently a 70% completion rate for all safety recalls. But the goal is 100%.

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