Best way to avoid inspection in Indiana: Slow down

| December 30, 2014

Indiana lead image

In the November issue, Overdrive detailed the state with the highest ratio of maintenance violations for every speeding violation. That’s Texas, where inspectors’ priorities are tilted heavily toward the truck.

But in a reverse of that priority, speeding violations in Indiana accounted for more than 14 percent of all violations marked on inspection reports during 2013.

Indiana violation profileWith speeding accounting for nearly half of all moving-type infractions marked on inspection reports in 2013, Indiana ranks first in the nation for those violations, which contribute to carriers’ scores in the Unsafe Driving category of the Compliance, Safety, Accountability program’s Safety Measurement System.

If you want to avoid an inspection in Indiana, keep a close eye on the speedometer when traveling in and out of the state, and stay well within all traffic laws. Indiana State Police 1st Sgt. Tyler Utterback, leading the state’s truck-enforcement program, puts it this way: “I have no problem with motor carriers being afraid of getting stopped in Indiana.”

Percentages calculated as a share of all violations within Indiana and nationally. Source for all data: Unless otherwise noted, federal data mined by Overdrive and RigDig Business Intelligence.

Percentages calculated as a share of all violations within Indiana and nationally. Source for all data: Unless otherwise noted, federal data mined by Overdrive and RigDig Business Intelligence.

Indiana’s priorities are weighted heavily toward changing what it sees as primary factors behind truck crashes. That’s an understandable goal, given Indiana ranked second in our 2013 CSA’s Data Trail analysis for truck-crash intensity (crashes per lane-mile of highway system).

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Oregon, with the same goal, puts more effort behind hours violations as an influencer of what it sees as dangerous driver behavior. However, Indiana’s targeted enforcement approach focuses on moving-type violations.

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About 200 non-motor carrier enforcement division locals work Indiana’s roads, tasked with focusing “on violations in your area known to cause crashes,” says Utterback. These 200 officers, he says, “actively look for a violation to make the stop and conduct a Level 3 inspection along with that.” A Level 3 addresses only driver credentials, including license, logs and medical certification, among other records.

Nearly 80 percent of Indiana’s overall inspections are taking place far from fixed weigh-station locations, a rate that has been fairly stable since 2011. Nationwide, 59 percent of overall inspections are done outside of fixed weigh stations.

Indiana’s violations-per-inspection number has risen in each of the past two years to 1.8, just above the national average. Analysis of the state’s inspection statistics show the state streamlining its approach to truck enforcement, with a drop in overall inspections between 2011 and 2012 by nearly a third. However, 2013 saw a slight rise in Indiana’s inspection numbers, even as it fell to ninth place when ranking the concentration of inspections. The state conducts 6.7 inspections for every lane-mile of National Highway System in its borders.

INDIANA’S VANISHING CLEAN INSPECTIONS. For a detailed look at overall enforcement metrics in the state, click through the image above or follow this link.

Also unlike in Oregon, as we reported in part in the August CSA’s Fallout installment, in Indiana it’s common practice to mark moving violations on inspection reports without an attendant citation. Citations can be challenged in court. Following the change in federal policy on adjudicated citations this summer, now, if the court challenge goes in the driver’s or carrier’s favor, a citation can then be removed from the official record in the CSA SMS and in driver Pre-Employment Screening Program records.

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The sheer volume of moving violations issued in Indiana means drivers are nowhere more likely to get stuck with what amounts to a warning on a traffic stop – no fine, no ticket. But it also means a greater likelihood of inspection, and no simple way to get a violation out of their federal safety record.

Find more on the state’s enforcement practices at this link. 

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