Close scrutiny: Pennsylvania rises up the inspection-intensity ranks

| September 12, 2014

Pennsylvania

Haulers on a D.C.-to-Pittsburgh dedicated turn might be the most inspection-prone in the country, never leaving the No. 1 and No. 2 states in Overdrive’s inspection-intensity rankings. Good news is, as noted in the story at this link, Maryland’s above average for the ease of improving CSA scores with clean inspections, and crossing into neighboring Pennsylvania puts you in a top 10 state for that metric.

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At No. 9 in Overdrive’s list of the states with the largest percentages of clean inspections, Pennsylvania’s 51 percent clean rate in 2013 was much better than the national average. Pennsylvania is also favorable in violations per inspection. Nationally, 1.6 violations per inspection were recorded in 2013; for Pennsylvania and Maryland, that number was 1.3.

PA violation profile

Clean inspections in Pennsylvania have risen nearly 20 percent since 2011. Cpl. Rick Koontz, supervisor of Pennsylvania’s Commercial Vehicle Safety Division, says that’s “a direct result of the DataQs system.” The state processed “about 3,000” challenges to violations on inspection reports last year alone. “We hold our guys very accountable,” Koontz says. “If somebody DataQs something, we take that very seriously. We do a quality check of the entire report.”

For this and the next five months, we’ll profile states that stand out for their enforcement intensity, violation propensity or other reasons. For more detail by state, you can access interactive maps charting a raft of enforcement data via Overdrive’s CSA’s Data Trail site: OverdriveOnline.com/csa.

For this and the next several months, we’ll profile states that stand out for their enforcement intensity, violation propensity or other reasons. For more detail by state, you can access interactive maps charting a raft of enforcement data via Overdrive’s CSA’s Data Trail site at this link.

As Overdrive reported last month in the “Inspections” chapter in this series, Pennsylvania, like Maryland and other states, has been on the move with mobile traffic enforcement and associated credentials-type inspections focusing on moving violations. Unlike Maryland and other weigh-station-heavy states, Pennsylvania’s always been strong on mobile enforcement. One reason is there’s only one permanent scale house – in Clarion County, says Koontz, “in the middle of nowhere, 200 miles from Harrisburg,” the state capitol. Otherwise, “we have 37 teams that move around in vans and carry scales – generally, one civilian inspector and one trooper.”

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Those vans have been on the move of late. Between 2011 and 2013, Pennsylvania’s inspection numbers have grown in real terms by nearly 30 percent to 11.4 inspections per lane-mile – growth that is unmatched in most jurisdictions across the country. (At No. 2 today for inspection intensity, Pennsylvania wasn’t even in the top 10 in Overdrive’s CSA’s Data Trail analysis last year.)

PA inspections per lane-mile

Part of that boost can be attributed to funding. Between 2012 and 2013, total Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program monies going to Pennsylvania grew by more than 11 percent, but that doesn’t tell the whole story. Prioritization of traffic enforcement among the total 700 inspectors statewide – combined with inspection at roadside, with a greater priority on less-time-consuming credentials inspections – simply means more inspections, Koontz says. 

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