Using a highway blockade that created a backup and waits of up to two and a half hours, a team of inspectors surprised truckers in two separate dragnets on Pennsylvania's I-95 in November. City of Philadelphia officials cited the reason for the inspections as a number of heavy-truck accidents on the Schuylkill Expressway earlier in the year.
One inspection (Nov. 30) by PennDOT and the Public Utility Commission targeted semis of all configurations. Exit ramps were blocked and trucks were pulled into a parking lot outside a naval yard by a trained team of 12 made up of the PA Highway Patrol, the PA State Police, and PennDOT weight experts.
"Officers gave a quick visual inspection and moved the trucks back out on the road if they looked clean," said Sgt. Jeff Ziernicki, one of the Philly HP inspectors. "One of the problems with doing inspections in this area is that there are no regular inspection facilities like there are along the freeways in other parts of the state."
He said that the officers received positive feedback from the majority of drivers. "Professional drivers seem to want a more positive image these days and want violators off the road," he said.
Officers inspected 182 vehicles. One pickup was placed out of service immediately for safety violations. Twenty-four out-of-service violations were found on16 semis. Among the violations: bad brakes, rotten floorboards, overweight trucks and faulty lights. A total of 44 tickets were written.
More inspections were scheduled for January. Sgt. Ziernicki said, "The inspections will be an on-going thing…though nothing of the magnitude of the recent inspections or conducted at the same location."