State Audit Finds Inadequate Oversight Of Dangerous Trucks And Buses.

February 7, 2014

As experienced Buffalo personal injury lawyers, we know that the most severe motor vehicle accidents involve commercial vehicles such as tractor trailers and buses.  Allowing the operation of such vehicles when they are not properly maintained and repaired poses a serious risk of personal injury.  While New York State has a program in place to inspect commercial motor vehicles for defects, a recent audit by the State Comptroller has found that this program needs to be improved.

The study examined records of inspections conducted from September of 2008 to 2012.  During that period the Department of Transportation inspected 448,842 commercial vehicles and found that approximately 20% of them had issues with either the maintenance of the vehicle or the condition of the driver (such as driving more than the regulated number of hours) that required the vehicle to be taken out of service.  The owner of the vehicle has 15 days to return an inspection report to the Department of Transportation documenting the necessary repairs before the vehicle returns to the road.

The audit found that about 39% of the required inspection reports were never returned.  Another 26% were returned late.  This problem is compounded by the fact the DOT does not currently have any system in place to track the return of inspection reports.  Instead, noncompliant commercial operators only face being caught if they happened to undergo a subsequent inspection.

It was also found that some commercial carriers certified repairs that were never performed, and that in 60% of cases where a carrier was caught continuing to operate a dangerous, unrepaired truck or bus, there was no progressive or enhanced penalty pursued.

A full copy of the report can be found here.

If you have suffered a personal injury in a truck accident, we can help you protect your legal rights.  Call us at 716-400-0000.