Every day across the country, and in every state from California to Maine, roadside inspections of commercial trucking rigs are carried out.
And for good reason, obviously. America's 18-wheel tractor-trailers and other roadway giants are colossal entities on state and national freeways and interstates. They perform the vital task of moving key goods across the country, but no reasonable person harbors illusions that they do so without attendant risk concerns related to their transporting efforts.
Those concerns underlie the rationale for the nation's vigorous inspection regime and the roadside scrutiny of big trucks that routinely occurs across the country.
One prominent safety group -- namely, the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance -- is concerned that the efficacy of inspectors' efforts is being undermined by a veritable avalanche of red tape they must regularly deal with.
The specific concern is with the increasing number of regulatory exemptions that are being signed off on by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The CVSA voices concern that the exemptions are so numerous, complex and cumbersome that the inspectors in given cases are simply ignoring them.
The ironic result: The very intention of the exemptions -- to increase safety across the commercial trucking industry -- is being undercut by their excessive promulgation.
The CVSA recently passed along its concerns in a letter to the FMCSA, asking it to revisit the exemption program. Alliance Executive Director Collin Mooney informed federal regulatory officials in that communication that the enforcement process is now wrought with "confusion and inconsistency," which is leading to wrong roadside determinations and results in certain instances.
There must be better training, wrote Mooney, to help ensure that inspectors uniformly "understand and apply the exemptions properly."
No motorist in California or elsewhere across the country would disagree with that recommendation or result.