1 in 5 inspected trucks taken off road after state crackdown

The state police’s annual commercial truck enforcement crackdown discovered this gross violation, a 2002 Ford box truck that had a broken spring in its suspension supported by lumber tied onto the truck with electrical cords and zip ties. The inspections of more than 500 trucks last Tuesday through Thursday resulted in one of five being taken out of service. It sidelined 30 truck drivers for violations ranging from possessing drugs to being on the road too many hours in a single day.

A New Hampshire State Police annual enforcement crackdown took one of every five commercial trucks inspected last week immediately out of service for more than 1,200 violations — ranging from faulty brakes to lumber supports tied on with electrical cords.

There were 30, or about 6 percent of drivers, taken off the road for violations including possessing drugs, operating after suspension or violating restrictions on driving hours.

Officers from Troop G led the 72-hour inspection effort last Tuesday through Thursday as part of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s International Road Check.

Commercial motor vehicle inspectors throughout the U.S., Canada and Mexico check large trucks and buses at inspection sites, weigh stations and with roving patrols.

“The State Police is pleased to announce that there were no fatal motor vehicles crashes involving commercial motor vehicles during this period,” Director Christopher Wagner said in a statement.

But the inspections of 528 trucks uncovered plenty of problems. There were 61 decals given to commercial truck operators that had passed a Level 1 inspection

Troopers also discovered 1,205 violations; 215 were so severe that either the truck or the driver had to be taken out of service.

In all, 106 trucks were grounded for “critical safety violations.”

Troopers issued 84 citations and made one arrest when Trooper Derek Holston inspected a 2014 Isuzu box truck in Windham and found drugs in the cab. The driver was arrested for an outstanding warrant, officials said.

Here are some of the more extreme violations of safety standards that troopers found:

Shaky load: The inspection of a 2002 Ford box truck in Windham uncovered a broken leaf spring in the suspension supported by 4-by-4 inch lumber tied onto the truck with electrical cords and zip ties. The lumber was rubbing against a tire that was flat, officials said. The same truck had inoperative turn signals, a bad parking brake, rotted sections of the frame and 10 of 14 supports for the cargo box that were defective or missing.

Oily brakes: In Rochester, Trooper David Skelly stopped a 2002 International truck and the brakes were contaminated with oil from a leaky wheel hub. A nut connecting steering components on the truck was missing a cotter pin and had been replaced by a bent nail, officials said.

Busted springs: A 1990 International truck that Trooper Kevin Raymond stopped in Raymond had broken leaf springs on the steering axle and the brake pads were so worn that the brakes were smoking. In addition, three of four brakes were out of adjustment.

Arm rubbing tire: Staff Sgt. William Burke stopped a 2000 Mack tractor-trailer foundation and discovered the Pitman arm which connects the steering box to other steering components was rubbing against the left front tire when the wheel was turned to the right. This inspection also uncovered rust holes in the trailer’s supports and a roll-off container that was not properly secured.

Oversized load ban: A traffic tie-up resulted in Sullivan when Trooper Thomas Cote learned the driver of an oversize load had driven through a prohibited construction zone in town, failing to follow the designated route for that load’s permit. The traffic jam occurred when the truck had to be turned around, officials said.

“The New Hampshire State Police are committed to ensuring safe travel throughout the state and will continue our efforts to reduce collisions during the summer season,” Director Wagner said.