Midwest Muscle: Iowa bolsters targeted approach to driver violations

| November 29, 2016

iowa-csa-data-trail-lead

Shares of vehicle-related violations in Iowa are falling, while shares in other violation categories – hours, moving violations – are growing, says Chief David Lorenzen, head of the Motor Vehicle Enforcement division of the Iowa Department of Transportation.

All data in this story based on 2015 federal inspection/violation numbers analyzed by Overdrive and sister company RigDig Business Intelligence.

All data in this story based on 2015 federal inspection/violation numbers analyzed by Overdrive and sister company RigDig Business Intelligence. Access data in a variety of violation and inspection categories via the CSA’s Data Trail series main hub.

Lorenzen agrees that his state’s violation profile in some senses reflects broad national trends. A quick look at Iowa’s violation profile shown with this story, however, shows a somewhat outsized focus on the driver rather than the truck.

That’s no accident, Lorenzen suggests. In tandem with the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s directives to Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program funding recipients among states, Iowa had emphasized moving violations over the last decade or so.

iowa-state-map-bug-csaThen “the emphasis shifted [further] to the driver,” Lorenzen says. That shift has shown up most dramatically in states where more Level 3 inspections have been a reality. (See “Stoking the log fires,” Overdrive July 2016.)

iowa-violation-profile-2015Nationally, hours of service violations rose to a high of 10 percent of all violations in 2014 after years of steady increases, and they remained more or less level in 2015. In Iowa, hours violation percentages continued to grow last year by a fraction of a point, though they’ve nearly doubled since 2012 with a concurrent steep increase in the number of violations overall.

Lorenzen says the increasing focus on the driver also stems from a growing use of screening technology at weigh stations – where Iowa conducts about half of its inspections – and at roadside via officers’ laptops. All of the roughly 100 dedicated inspectors in Iowa are sworn law officers, splitting their time between fixed locations and the road.

Related

The 18 states that issue more violations per inspection than the national average

In any of these states, it's most likely that if you get inspected you'll walk away with a violation. All of them write more than ...

Six of the state’s 10 interstate-system weigh stations are equipped with PrePass’ screening/sorting technology. Last year, the state instituted the company’s 360 SmartView at Dallas and Jasper, sites on either side of Des Moines on I-80. The system combines plate/DOT number-reading cameras with other technologies to provide officers with advance information about not only PrePass-equipped trucks but also every truck that approaches a weigh station.

“We’re not stopping and wasting drivers’ time,” Lorenzen believes, as officers are better able to identify drivers for an inspection based on advance information. The use of 360 SmartView also could underpin another area where Iowa bucked the trend in the last year. Its violations-per-inspection ratio rose to 2.2 violations, while the national average stayed flat.

iowa-violations-per-inspection-2012-2015-versus-national-average

Officers on the road have laptops equipped with screening software that allows near-real-time visibility into a carrier’s safety measurement profile with the simple entry of a DOT number. “It’s been a reliable piece for us,” says Lorenzen. All Iowa officers also are equipped for mobile weight enforcement with portable scale units in their Chevy Tahoe police vehicles.

“Our full-time employees aren’t increasing” as a state budgetary priority, Lorenzen says. With technology, Iowa can do more in the way of inspections with what they have.

Lorenzen says truck and driver safety has improved during his near-40-year career in the state’s truck enforcement division. “Equipment has gotten much, much better,” he says. “When I first started, it was nothing for 50 percent of trucks inspected to be placed out of service.”

Iowa’s Department of Transportation shows clear emphasis on inspecting the trucks and drivers it believes need it. The state stands out in rankings for the fewest clean inspections and an above-average violations-per-inspection rating. Add to that a top-15 ranking among states in inspection intensity, and it’s clear the sworn officers that make up much of the DOT’s program are among the nation’s most active in selection and inspection.

Iowa’s Department of Transportation shows clear emphasis on inspecting the trucks and drivers it believes need it. The state stands out in rankings for the fewest clean inspections and an above-average violations-per-inspection rating. Add to that a top-15 ranking among states in inspection intensity, and it’s clear the sworn officers that make up much of the DOT’s program are among the nation’s most active in selection and inspection.

As for the drivers, most today are professional in their interactions, but Lorenzen understands the “frustration factor” that comes with being inspected. “Be knowledgeable of what’s required of you,” he says. “Do your due diligence” during pretrips, and “if you note equipment issues, make sure you take care of them.”

Iowa’s inspection program isn’t going anywhere anytime soon, Lorenzen says. “We’re always going to be out there,” he says. “We train our officers to expedite the process. We want to get you there safely, but also efficiently and conveniently. We don’t want to hinder anything.”

 

Find all of the CSA’s Data Trail state profiles via the links below:

Washington

Washington state: Putting the move on moving violations, logs

Washington state: Putting the move on moving violations, logs

The one-two combination of hours of service and traffic enforcement packs the biggest punch for Washington State -- with a technology assist.

North Carolina

North Carolina enforcement: Where officer discretion can help

Professionalism at roadside can go a long way in influencing enforcement actions in North Carolina. The highway patrol there isn't, by and large, "looking to ...

New Mexico

Common ground: New Mexico's inspection-heavy enforcement program

Common ground: New Mexico’s inspection-heavy enforcement program

Capt. Greg Kerr of the New Mexico Department of Public Safety’s truck-enforcement unit has thoughts about highway safety that truck drivers may find familiar and ...

Mississippi:

Credit for clean: ‘Finishing the job’ on violation-free inspections

Mississippi far exceeding all states when it comes to helping truckers by issuing clean inspections. According to state officials, that could change with some more ...

Illinois:

Roadside heat waning in Illinois

Roadside heat waning in Illinois

After a focus on moving violations led to a dramatic climb up Overdrive’s state inspection-intensity rankings in 2014, the Illinois State Police show signs of ...

Virginia:

No breaks for brakes: Virginia State Police lead the nation in brake violation focus

No breaks for brakes: Virginia State Police lead the nation in brake violation focus

The latest in Overdrive's CSA's Data Trail series: A no-frills approach to inspections also puts this state near the top for maintenance violations overall.

Arizona:

No mercy: Arizona ground zero for truck enforcement

No mercy: Arizona ground zero for truck enforcement

With a high rate of both inspections and violations, and a top ten ranking for hours enforcement, this state is ground zero for tough inspections ...

Arkansas:

The new top hours of service enforcer

No state issued a higher percentage of hours violations in 2014 than this one. Training has helped officials find their ‘comfort zone’ enforcing the ever-shifting ...

Wisconsin:

Wisconsin: Targeting enforcement for violations

Wisconsin: Targeting enforcement for violations

Only one state does it better -- or in many truckers' perspectives, worse -- than Wisconsin. With more than 3 violations written for every inspection ...

California:

The Golden State: Inspection fanatic or truckers' best friend?

The Golden State: Inspection fanatic or truckers’ best friend?

California's reputation as being tough on truckers continues with its No. 2 position in the inspection intensity rankings. At once, the Golden State near highest ...

Georgia:

Decreasing inspections: Georgia's numbers fall

Decreasing inspections: Georgia’s numbers fall

The state dialed back on overall inspections from 81,183 in 2013 to 69,188 in 2014, a 15 percent decline. According to state officials, such a ...

Ohio:

Light-sensitive: Ohio the No. 1 state for light violations

Lights can go out when you’re running, but some drivers contend "a lot of these lights are off before the trip starts.” If you don’t ...

Indiana:

Best way to avoid inspection in Indiana: Slow down

Best way to avoid inspection in Indiana: Slow down

With 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.

Oregon:

Oregon: An edge on hours

Oregon: An edge on hours

The state of Oregon is known among owner-operators for more than its scenic mountain passes and rocky coast: Oregon’s weight-distance tax data sharpens its focus ...

Texas:

Don’t mess with Texas: No. 1 for maintenance violations

If you’re running through the Lone Star State, don’t skimp on pre-trip inspections. No other state issues a higher percentage of maintenance violations.

Connecticut:

Finding fault: Where inspections are toughest

Finding fault: Where inspections are toughest

This month in the Standout States series we look at Connecticut, which might get the most proverbial "bang" for its inspection buck with the highest ...

Pennsylvania:

Close scrutiny: Pennsylvania rises up the inspection-intensity ranks

Close scrutiny: Pennsylvania rises up the inspection-intensity ranks

Pennsylvania's enforcement program might be the most mobile in the nation -- the No. 2 state for inspection intensity in 2013, the state conducts the ...

Maryland:

Close scrutiny: Where are you most likely to be inspected?

Close scrutiny: Where are you most likely to be inspected?

That distinction goes to Maryland, followed by Pennsylvania -- while both are heavy on inspections, their rate of issuing violations falls below the national average. ...

AD

There are 2 comments

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *