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Research Project
Evaluation of the Differences Between Spontaneous and Anticipated Roadside Inspections of Motor Carriers

The goal of this study was to improve the effectiveness of highway safety inspections of motor carriers. These inspections can be broadly classified as anticipated or spontaneous. Anticipated inspections are defined as those in which the driver is usually aware that there is a high probability an inspection will take place. These would normally occur at fixed sites, such as highway weigh stations. Conversely, spontaneous inspections are those in which the driver may be unaware that an inspection will take place. These would usually be conducted at roadside facilities, such as rest areas, check points, or even by a highway patrol or truck regulatory officer on the shoulder of the road.

This project evaluated the differences, if any, between violations found during the two broad classifications of inspections as described above. This was conducted in order to provide the Office of Motor Carriers management staff with the information to improve the roadside inspection procedures and to allocate Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program funds as efficiently as possible. This should, in turn, result in the maximum removal of unsafe equipment and drivers from service.

The study found very little notable differences between violations found during "spontaneous" versus "anticipated" inspections which were conducted in 1993 in North Dakota. Considering overall out-of-service rates, the author recommended that fixed sites continue to concentrate on Level I inspections while roadside sites concentrate on Level III as these are the areas they are each best suited for.

Final Report

Date: August 1994
Authors: Brenda Lantz
Completed Report: DP-104

For more information about this project, please email Brenda Lantz brenda.lantz@ndsu.edu.

NDSU Dept 2880P.O. Box 6050Fargo, ND 58108-6050