Roadcheck's not just focused on hours this year: Keep those lights in good working order to pass inspection

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Updated Apr 23, 2021

Night Rain2019 top 15 for light related violations mapThe shaded states above represent those states that occupy the top 15 spots for the greatest share of all violations written there having to do with lights -- among the focus areas (along with the hours of service, of this year's annual Roadcheck three-day inspection blitz, May 4-6). See below for a numbered list of these 15 toughest states when it comes to prioritizing light violations. Chart and list are based on 2019 calendar year inspection data as reported to the federal MCMIS database.

It's not uncommon for a truck inspector to point to most any light violation as a kind of low-hanging fruit in the inspection-selection process, particularly as the sun begins to set most any day or before it shines in the morning. A light out is an obvious indicator of a violation, and one of the many triggers that could cause a road trooper or weigh station inspector to make the move toward a wider inspection. 

During the all-hands-on-deck Roadcheck event -- which plays out most often but by no means exclusively via stepped-up enforcement efforts at scale houses in the daytime -- the selection aspect of the lights-out trigger might not be the chief concern around functioning bulbs, but it's never bad policy for an owner to keep tabs of what's shining and what's not. During your regular workdays, you'll be hassled less at roadside, that's for sure. 

The data around lights-related enforcement shows that many of the states where lights violations make up the largest shares of all written infractions are also vehicle-inspection-heavy states like those in the Southeast I-10 corridor between Florida and Texas, occupying the No. 1 and 2 spots, respectively, for lights infractions. No. 3 and 4 Alabama and Mississippi on the lights list are likewise both ranked in the top 15 for maintenance overall, as are North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and, out west, Nevada. 

National Average Lights Violations201619Unlike hours of service violations nationally over the same period, which fell sharply, the share of all violations represented by lighting-related infractions has been fairly steady in recent years. That share fell only two tenths of a percentage point over the period shown.Federal data mined by Overdrive and RigDig

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Vehicle-heavy enforcement of the type you see during Roadcheck is to be expected in all of those places, no doubt, but data also point the way to the nexus of both enforcement areas planned as emphasis for the May 4-6 event. In the following list, the three bolded states represent jurisdictions that rank in the top 15 in both hours and lights enforcement categories. 

The toughest 15 states for lights violations

  1. Florida – 24.2%
  2. Texas – 23.5%
  3. Mississippi – 23%
  4. Alabama – 22.7%
  5. Ohio – 22%
  6. West Virginia – 19.9%
  7. Maryland – 19.4%
  8. Vermont – 19.3%
  9. Virginia – 19.3%
  10. Nevada – 19.2%
  11. Connecticut – 18.9%
  12. Kansas – 18.9%
  13. North Carolina – 18.9%
  14. Wisconsin – 18.6%
  15. Georgia – 18.2% 

Find all of the CSA’s Data Trail state truck enforcement department profiles dating back to 2014 via the links below:

New York
North Carolina
New Mexico

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