NASHVILLE, Tenn. -
Tennessee Highway Patrol troopers noted more than 1,140 violations that caused semi-trucks to be taken out of service in 2013.
When a truck is taken out of service, the driver is not allowed to continue on to its destination until the violation is corrected.
News 2 obtained commercial vehicle out-of-service violations for 2013 covering Cheatham, Davidson, Montgomery, Rutherford, Sumner, Williamson and Wilson counties.
The most common violation noted by troopers was lighting violations with a total of 235. The other top three violations were brakes (227), load securement (144) and tire violations (113).
Lt. Brandon Douglas leads THP’s commercial vehicle enforcement division.
All Tennessee troopers are trained to inspect semi-trucks. They also man weigh stations where trucks are inspected.
“Each carrier has a safety score,” Douglas said. “Whenever we inspect them and find a violation that goes against their safety score.”
A carrier’s safety score can impact how often their trucks are inspected, the ability to secure insurance and even their ability to get business.
Tennessee is one of the most heavily travelled states for trucks.
According to the American Transportation Research Institute, on an average day, roughly 314,000 multi-unit trucks travel in or through Tennessee or about 13% of the 2.4 million multi-unit trucks registered in the U.S.
“I just move out of the way,” driver Sonya Holley said. “They just [are] in a big hurry.”
But the Tennessee Trucking Association told News 2 the vast majority of truck drivers and trucks on Tennessee roads are safe.
Danny Ewell is a member of the association and has been a truck driver for 36 years.
Ewell has logged more than 3.5 million safe driving miles without a preventable accident.
“Accidents with big trucks have continued to decrease over the past 10 years,” he said. “With all that being said, 78% of the time when a car and truck are involved in an accident it is the fault of the car driver.”
Ewell is a part of the TTA Road Team, a group of truck drivers with one million miles accident-free who do outreach to educate the public on safely sharing the roads with big trucks.
“When we get up in the morning we do a thorough pre-check on these trucks,” he said. “We do everything we can so that we can all make it home safe at night.”
Terry Certain is also a member of the road team and has been a truck driver for 29 years.
He told News 2 that often times drivers can help prevent wrecks by avoiding the trucks large blind spots and giving trucks enough room to maneuver on the road.
“When they pull in front of us and cut us off its dangerous,” he said. “If we have trouble, they are right there and it does not give us enough room to stop.”
Drivers are also required to have physicals at least once a year.
“We are checked regularly for our blood pressure, our diabetes and our weight,” Certain said.
Both drivers told News 2 there are truck drivers on the road who do not have the same standard of safety, but they are a small percentage of the drivers on the road.
THP said if any motorists sees a truck driver who is driving in a dangerous way or notice a truck that appears dangerous to immediately dial *THP (*841).
That will connect you with the THP dispatch in the area you are in at the time.