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State: Inspect Big Rigs Once per Year

CHERRY RIDGE TOWNSHIP -- A big change is coming for big rigs. Up until this month, Pennsylvania has required large trucks to be inspected twice a year, but not anymore. That has some drivers and safety inspectors concerned.

State lawmakers made the change last year. It went into effect just last week. Vehicles over 17,000 pounds are now allowed to go one full year between inspections.

As Bill Kinsman got to work inspecting a propane truck at his shop near Honesdale, he looked for signs that the vehicle will run safely for as long as needed.

"It's hard for us as a mechanic to tell what's going to happen within a year underneath these vehicles," Kinsman said.

Kinsman and his colleagues are more concerned for the safety of everyone on the road, especially considering how many miles many big rigs travel in any given year, coast to coast.

"You can get 120,000-150,000 miles on them before they ever have to be looked at again. I don't want to point fingers. That's a big safety concern. It was a Pennsylvania safety inspection."

"Problem we have with is there's big truckers that run six months that have big problems. What's going to happen with one year?" asked safety inspector Mark Lienert.

Another side effect is the loss of business mechanics have depended on for years. Now they'll only be inspecting large trucks once a year, not twice.

"It's going to be harder to make a living."

According to PennDOT, there are a couple reasons the state has gone from semiannual inspections to annual inspections on big rigs. One is the feds only require inspections once a year. A second is carriers have complained they have to bring their rigs back into state twice a year."

Even some drivers are worried what the move to annual inspections means for everyone.

"A lot of that concern would be with guys running over the road putting on boat load of miles in the year, big safety concern," said Andy Korb.

Fleet owners and private rig drivers do still have to pass inspection at any time if they're stopped during their travels.

However, mechanics still have a lot of questions like if they be held liable for a truck that fails an inspection before the year's up.

3 comments

  • Rick

    PA vehicle inspections are comically ridiculous. “Mechanics” trying to drum up business to stay open are the one’s charged with performing annual “inspections” HAHAHAHAHA only in PA! Conflict of interest for the consumers ya think?

    • rick is a dope

      not really. Do you even drive? The inspections stations (and mechanics) are licensed to inspect according to regulations. The state also sends in “phony” vehicles to see if they are cutting corners or adding unnecessary repairs.

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