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Here's why you may see lots of semis pulled over on the highway this week

semi-trailers lining up along a highway weigh station
Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance

The next three days will be busy for the Ohio State Highway Patrol and inspectors with the Public Utilities Commission of Ohio (PUCO), and you may see a lot of commercial motor vehicles lining up at highway weigh stations, pulled over along the highway, or spending more time in rest stops. The state is participating in the 2024 Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance's (CVSA) International Roadcheck blitz May 14-16.

International Roadcheck is a 72-hour, high-visibility event in the U.S., Canada and Mexico that aims to ensure commercial motor vehicles like semi-trucks are in compliance with federal, state, provincial or territorial regulations.

"Trucking safety inspectors (will be) pulling over trucks all across America's highways, and performing safety inspections ensuring that these drivers and trucks are carrying their goods safely across Ohio's highways," says Matt Schilling, a spokesperson with the PUCO. "It's really about raising awareness for drivers and trucking companies and highlighting the importance of the safety regulations so that they can stay within the safety regulations; of course to ensure that they are doing so safely and keeping their shipments on time, but also protecting the motoring public at large."

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The CVSA is focusing on two areas with this year's Roadcheck: tractor protection systems and, in the U.S., alcohol and controlled substance possession.

"Controlled substance and alcohol possession by commercial motor vehicle drivers is a significant concern," the CVSA writes in a flyer. "In addition, the number of prohibited drivers in the U.S. Drug and Alcohol Clearinghouse (DACH) is increasing. This alarming trend poses a threat to all motorists on our roadways."

Inspectors will conduct a 37-step inspection that includes checking over each vehicle to ensure everything is in proper working order and compliance, and reviewing the driver's credentials.

The PUCO reported 1,793 violations were found during last year's International Roadcheck, when it conducted 993 inspections. The agency says 353 violations were deemed severe enough to take either the driver or the vehicle out of service.

Schilling has a reminder for all drivers, too.

"If you see a stopped vehicle on the highway, Ohio law requires you to get over to the left lane if you can to get around them. Whether you're driving through a construction zone or you see a truck stopped on the side of the road, that is an important reminder to move left and move over."

Senior Editor and reporter at WVXU with more than 20 years experience in public radio; formerly news and public affairs producer with WMUB. Would really like to meet your dog.