ROCK HILL, S.C. -- The average tractor-trailer is 80,000 to 90,000 pounds. At high-speed interstate travel, mistakes and equipment failure can have deadly consequences.
Wednesday was Lloyd Pate’s first in-depth inspection in a long time. Pate, who returned to driving after a 35-year break, said officers are just “making sure there are no busted springs on the truck or the trailer.”
The inspections took place at mile marker 89 on South Carolina’s Interstate 77 in Rock Hill. They are level one inspections, which means South Carolina Transport Police look at everything, from the engine, to the driver and his records, to all 18 wheels.
As many as 2,000 trucks roll through the stop every week. Transport Police say safety is the key to reducing serious crashes, even though the most recent numbers from 2009 show 712 accidents and 14 fatalities on South Carolina roads are the result of drivers going too fast for conditions and not equipment failure.
The average inspection Wednesday took one hour.
“It’s a big job to get this all checked out,” said one of the officers doing the inspection under a truck.
Even though time is money, Pate said he doesn’t mind the time for inspections to keep everyone safe, especially himself.
“You got 80,000 pounds rolling down the highway. If anything goes wrong, it’s a disaster,” Pate added.
Details of Wednesday's inspections will be released on Friday.