New York ready to implement electronic inspections

By Greg Grisolano, Land Line staff writer | Tuesday, March 05, 2013

A federal program using cameras, electronic sensors and transponders to monitor and inspect trucks will be brought online this fall along New York’s Interstate 84 corridor.

Officials with the New York State Department of Transportation said the goal of the electronic inspections is to enhance safety, protect pavements, and save costs to taxpayers while keeping truckers on the road.

“For both the trucking industry and the safety and law enforcement folks, it expedites the process,” said Jennifer Post, spokeswoman for NYSDOT. “For the trucking industry it helps level the playing field, allowing companies who are complying with safety regulations to continue on their way while we focus on those who are not. Making enforcement and safety inspections more efficient and effective can only help.”

Post said the agency expects to let the contract out for bid this fall, at an estimated cost of $3 million to $5 million. The technology being implemented combines cameras and sensors similar to E-ZPass sensors used to process tolls and trigger changes in traffic signals. Cameras will capture a truck’s license plate and DOT numbers while sensors capture its weight. The data will be forwarded electronically to inspection teams.

“The feedback I’ve heard is people are very pleased with it,” Post said. “The drivers who were involved in the testing were able to move through the inspection process much more quickly. If their vehicles checked out, they weren’t asked to stay.”

A truck equipped with a transponder can transmit its credentials, while the inspection teams can signal back a green or red light, indicating the truck is free to proceed or must stop for inspection. Trucks without transponders would be reviewed based on their plate and DOT numbers, and waved into the inspection site, or on down the road.

Post said the data collected from a test site in Schodack showed the weight and motion devices were able to take measurements with a 3 to 5 percent margin of error.

The proposal calls for three installation sites: near a rest area at Wallkill, just outside the Newburgh-Beacon Bridge, and at the interchange of Interstate 87 northbound and I-84, near Newburgh.

Post said the state DOT hopes to install the technology on the Alexander Hamilton Bridge in New York City, and at customs facilities on I-87 near the Quebec border in 2014.

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