The efforts of the fourth Operation Sauter paid dividends at the end of March. The annual 24-hour inspection blitz that focuses on commercial motor vehicle (CMV) enforcement is named for James Sauter, a trooper who was killed when a semi-truck hit his squad car on I-294 southbound.
On March 28 of this year, the fourth anniversary of the tragic loss, Sauter’s fellow members of the Illinois State Police conducted 1,437 inspections, issuing 624 warnings and 123 citations. By the time 24 hours elapsed, 138 commercial vehicles were placed out-of-service.
While Operation Sauter has ended for the year, it only serves as a prelude to a national CMV enforcement initiative. International Roadcheck is the largest inspection in North America. Planned by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), the “blitz” will take place between June 6-8.
Over 72 hours, inspectors will conduct compliance, enforcement and educational initiatives. This year’s focus will be on cargo securement, something not usually on CVSA’s radar for Level I inspections. Highlighting this important safety issue will serve as a reminder to both drivers and fleets of its significance.
CVSA encourages commercial drivers to ensure that their vehicles’ loads are properly secured. Over the three-day event, inspections will focus on preventing violations related to cargo securement that includes:
- Failure to prevent shifting or loss of cargo
- Failure to secure truck equipment
- Damaged, insufficient or loose tie-downs
Last year’s “spree” saw 9,080 trucks (21.5 percent) and 1,436 drivers (3.4 percent) placed out of service following inspections that totaled 62,796. Level 1 inspections number 42,236. Brakes and hours topped the out-of-service violations in 2016.
While the immediate benefit involves keeping dangerous trucks and negligent drivers off the road, the long-term impact can help keep other drivers in Illinois and throughout the country safer.