Heavy Trucks: Appendix 4

Profiles of State and Local Agency Implementation Efforts

Emphasis Area
12.1 Heavy Truck Crashes

Strategy Name and Number
Strategy 12.1.4.2: Conduct Post-crash Inspections to Identify Major Problems and Problem Conditions.

Agency and Jurisdiction
Pennsylvania

Problem(s) Identified
A concern that commercial vehicle, driver, or cargo condition were contributing to crash involvement prompted the state legislature to amend the Pennsylvania Vehicle Code (Section 4704(c)(2)) to require that motor carrier and mass transit vehicles involved in fatal crashes shall be inspected by a qualified Commonwealth employee prior to being allowed to continue service.

Goals and Objectives Established
The revised Vehicle Code specified that all heavy trucks or transit vehicles involved in fatal crashes will undergo inspection by a qualified official including inspection of the vehicle, equipment, load, driver, and documents. Some non-fatal crashes with significant injuries and/or notable circumstances are also investigated.

Description of Strategy Implemented
Who performs the inspection is determined by which agency responds to the crash. If a State Trooper responds, the trooper assigned to the station certified to do inspections is notified. If this person is not available, the State Police notify PENNDOT motor carrier enforcement. Analogous procedures are followed by local police. The officer or other official conducting the inspection completes an inspection report using the standard MCSAP roadside inspection report form. This report is then forwarded to the PENNDOT Motor Carrier Division for inclusion in the SAFETYNET database. The report is designated as a post-fatal-crash inspection.

Summary of Implementation Effort (Lessons Learned)
This program has been in-place since mid-2001 and has resulted in approximately 1,100 vehicle inspections to date. The police routinely request inspections following fatal crashes but may also request them for significant non-fatal crashes. Statistical analysis of the post-crash inspection database has not yet begun, but such analyses are planned and should provide valuable information to state enforcement officials.

Summary of Results
The Pennsylvania post-fatal-crash inspection program is still fairly new but has resulted in reliable, standardized inspections of commercial vehicles involved in fatal (and some non-fatal) crashes, including vehicle mechanics, equipment, load securement, driver credentials and duty status, and other mandatory safety documentation. Planned data analyses will provide information on the prevalence of violations for crash-involved vehicles and drivers, and will be compared to the violation database as a whole.

Contact Person and Information
Dan Smyser, Chief, Motor Carrier Division, PENNDOT, (717)787-7445.