Yellowstone Park conducts vehicle safety inspections
July 2, 2006
Last week, Yellowstone National Park officials conducted a campaign for full-level safety inspections of random commercial vehicles in the park. The inspections were unannounced and focused on commercial buses and trucks. A full level inspection evaluates both the driver and the commercial vehicle to assure full compliance with federal regulations that govern commercial vehicles. Conducting these inspections ensures the safe operation of these large commercial vehicles, which helps protect visitors, park employees, and park resources from potential mishaps.
All but a handful of the commercial vehicles inspected were found to have some type of safety defect.
National Park Service rangers, special agents and volunteers set up a commercial vehicle inspection checkpoint on U.S. Highway 191 at milepost 22 near the Fawn Pass Trailhead on June 26 and 27.
They conducted unannounced, full-level inspections with the assistance of the Motor Carrier Services Division of the Montana Department of Transportation, the Wyoming Highway Patrol’s Commercial Carrier Division, and the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration.
Of the 176 commercial trucks and buses inspected, 160 vehicles were discovered to have some kind of safety violation. Over 100 operators were ticketed. There were 77 “out-of-service” violations which required either a vehicle or driver to be taken off the road due to serious violations. Among the worst violations were cracked trailer frames, unsecured loads, or trailers without brakes.
In addition, four undocumented foreign nationals were arrested and turned over to the custody of U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.
This is the eighth year of the interagency inspection program. Last year’s inspection at Old Faithful focused on buses. Tickets were issued to 76 of the 144 commercial vehicles and drivers inspected in 2005. Each year there has been a significant decrease in the most serious “out-of-service” violations which require that either a commercial vehicle or a commercial driver be taken off the road due to serious mechanical or driver-specific violations.