Dangerous Trucking: A WTOL11 Investigation

TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - According to the Ohio State Highway Patrol, there have been more than 600 at-fault accidents involving commercial vehicles in Lucas, Wood, Fulton and Hancock Counties so far in 2012.

Of course, accidents are a fact of life. Many are due to driver error, or just bad luck.  But the emphasis a trucking company puts on maintaining its rigs and hiring safe drivers helps prevent crashes.

While the vast majority of trucking companies are doing things the right way, officials say some are cutting corners and putting drivers at risk.

"You have some that will try to shortcut things, do things the cheapest way they can do it," said Lieutenant J.L. Thompson of the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

The highway patrol performs regular roadside safety checks on commercial vehicles, and issues out of service stickers to keep a truck off the road when there is a problem. About 20 percent of those stickers are issued due to mechanical problems with a truck. Another 5 percent result from issues with a driver.

Johnson Trucking based in Monclova runs primarily dump trucks. According to state records, 56 percent of its vehicles received out of service stickers during inspections. Northern Steel Transport in Toledo has almost 43 percent of its vehicles out of service, and 9 percent of its drivers. Both companies declined to comment for this story.

Nick Stambaugh, who works for LACE transportation, says it is frustrating to see companies giving truckers a bad name.  LACE has a clean safety record.

"It definitely frustrates you because we're trying to do it the right way and earn a living the right way and other companies are flying under the table and under the radar and safety's not important for them and it makes it tougher for us and more regulations for us," said Stambaugh.

CLICK HERE to find the Department of Transportation number for area trucking companies.  Paste that number into the state's search site HERE to see the company's safety record.

Copyright 2012 Toledo News Now. All rights reserved.