Texas State Truck Inspections: An Issue of Public Safety
Earlier this year, a Houston business was shut down after Texas authorities discovered that the owners were conducting fraudulent Department of Transportation vehicle inspections and forging government documents, stating that vehicles they checked had passed state inspection when, in fact, they possessed safety issues that would have prevented them from passing the official inspection.
The volume of inspections being completed by the business – 122 in only two days – raised red flags and alerted officials that something may be amiss with the shop claiming to provide official state vehicle inspections. There are over 100 checks on a Texas DOT vehicle inspection, which typically takes about one hour to complete, raising eyebrows as to how the business was able to complete so many inspections in such a short amount of time.
On Monday, February 25, Aaron Wiggins, Joe Wiggins and Steven Ball were arrested and each charged with two counts of Tampering with a Governmental Record, a felony charge, and their business was closed. The men may also face additional charges due to the severity of the crime.
The alleged illegal conduct of the business presents an obvious safety concern and even greater danger if there are other businesses conducting fraudulent inspections. There are thousands of 18-wheelers on Houston roads every day and it is possible that many of them have safety issues or even a state inspection sticker which was issued fraudulently.
During the summer of 2018, the Department of Public Safety in Texas conducted a safety check spanning three days, which included the check of nearly 8,000 vehicles. It was found that 24 percent of them, nearly a quarter of the commercial vehicles checked, were in violation of safety regulations. This three-day safety check resulted in the issuance of 1,300 citations and 18,000 warnings. The rate of 18-wheeler accidents certainly is at risk of increasing with this many potentially unsafe trucks on the road.
It is likely that these violations and fraudulent inspection schemes will continue to be severely punished, as encouraging other drivers and businesses to abide by these regulations through deterrence is one of the best ways to keep Texans safe from a truck accident caused by an improper inspection.