Truck inspections had an impact

In five days of intensive truck inspections at the Port of Entry weigh station near Ashland last week, officials pulled 35 percent of the truckers they checked off the road because of safety concerns.

Inspectors targeted log books and other records to make sure drivers were complying with federal and state regulations and not driving too many hours without rest.

State analysis of commercial vehicle crash data identified driver error as a chief cause of such crashes, officials said. Prevention efforts focused on stopping unsafe drivers started last year, and the total number of crashes in 2007 dropped 11 percent when compared with the previous year.

From June 17 to 21, inspectors checked 368 northbound trucks at the weigh station and pulled 32 percent of them out of service. They checked 181 southbound trucks and pulled 38 percent of them out of service, in part because the state network of scales provides additional information to verify trucks' routes and times in Oregon, officials said.

Concurrent inspections on Highway 97 near Klamath Falls targeted 434 trucks and pulled 26 percent of them out of service.

The Southern Oregon totals, 963 inspections that netted 257 drivers, were consistent with what the Oregon Department of Transportation Motor Carrier Transportation Division has seen in similar inspection blitzes around the state, officials said. The national driver out-of-service rate is 7 percent.

Officials said the driver out-of-service rate is high because the inspections conducted are not random, but target companies with past safety problems and drivers who look tired or inattentive.

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