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SAVANNAH, GA – The Georgia Department of Public Safety recently issued an order that semi truck safety inspections would no longer be done by local police departments and that state inspectors would be taking over the job.

Commercial vehicle safety inspection in Georgia to enforce violations for bald tires, bad brakes, bad lights and other violations. Photo credit: WTOC, Savannah, GA

Savannah is located in Chatham County Georgia in the southeastern corner of the state about 249 miles southeast of Atlanta.

Map showing location of Savannah, Georgia.

Prior to this order, which takes effect October 1, 2011, inspections of tractor-trailer trucks for safety violations in Georgia were done by local law enforcement officers who were certified by the state to do vehicle inspections.

These police officers would stop and inspect semi trucks and enforce violations for bald tires, bad brakes, bad lights and other violations.

A recent state law was passed which now allows civilians to operate weigh stations. Prior to this, only state motor carrier compliance officers were allowed to operate weigh stations.

Partly as a result of this, the state decided to move 75 state officers from weigh stations and to put them into the field to do big rig safety inspections and replace the police officers from local municipalities who were doing the job before.

Perhaps there is another incentive for the state to take over the inspections from the local police departments. Money to do the inspections is being provided by the Federal Government to the states through the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Assistance Program. This program provides financial assistance (grants) to the states to reduce accidents through commercial motor vehicle safety programs.

The change is causing some dissatisfaction with some of the local communities. Three westside communities of Garden City, Port Wentworth and Pooler who were ticketing truckers for safety violations now have officers who are freed up to concentrate on local crime-fighting efforts such as burglaries, thefts and other things.

One of their complaints is the safety record when they were doing the enforcement. According to an article in the Savannah Morning News website, the westside community of Garden City had one of its officers certified by the state to stop and inspect commercial trucks for violations. When enforcement was stepped up, the number of accidents fell from 212 wrecks in 2008 to 127 in 2009 and down again to just 44 in 2010.

Statewide in Georgia there were 88 officers from local municipalities who did the inspections. Taking into account the 75 state officers who are now taking over their duties, the local authorities feel that the state is short 13 people for the job and this is a cause for concern.

Due to the shortage of state personnel they are not so convinced that the state officers will be able to match their safety record. But the Savannah Morning News article does give credit to the state officers because their job is not easy and local authorities hope that local roads will be kept safe and local people alive.

Related searches:

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