CHARLESTON, W.Va. – Hundreds of big rigs headed through West Virginia are being randomly pulled over and inspected. It’s part of national Brake Safety Week that runs September 8-14, sponsored by the West Virginia Public Service Commission Transportation Enforcement Division and the U.S. Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance.
The safety inspections take place at weigh stations on Interstates 64, 77 and 79. Enforcement Officer Matt Epling, with the WVTED, said they’re looking very closely at one part of the truck.
“We go underneath the vehicle and check the brakes, frames, air hoses, air lines,” said Epling.
What they’re looking for is any problem with the vehicle that might prevent the brakes from working properly.
“It’s not a judgment call. We have a federal service criteria,” explained Epling. “Once it meets that criteria, we don’t have a choice. We have to take that [vehicle] off the road.”
Brake Safety Week takes place once a year. In 2012, enforcement officers in West Virginia pulled a lot of rigs off the road.
“Last year, during Break Inspection Week, our officers inspected 274 vehicles. Seventy-four of those vehicles were place out of service for being unsafe,” according to Susan Small with the West Virginia Public Service Commission.
If a rig is pulled off the road, it cannot leave the weigh station until the problems are corrected. Epling stressed they’re taking no chances when it comes to public safety. Preventing crashes is their mission and he has no problem placing a vehicle out of service.
“Essentially you could have saved someone’s life!”