Grand Teton National Park Conducts Commercial Vehicle Safety Inspections

Tour buses lined up for vehicle safety inspections

August 19, 2008
Commercial vehicle safety inspections conducted during Tuesday, August 12, and Wednesday, August 13 in Grand Teton National Park resulted in the discovery of several violations on commercial vehicles traveling through the park. A full-level inspection evaluates both the driver and the commercial vehicle to ensure full compliance with the federal regulations that govern these vehicles. Last week’s inspections were unannounced and focused on commercial buses and trucks.

Safety inspections were conducted through an interagency effort by Grand Teton National Park rangers, Federal Motor Carrier Administration personnel, and Wyoming Highway Patrol officers. A complete safety inspection station was assembled in Colter Bay Village, and every commercial vehicle traveling on Highway 89/287 through the park was diverted through the inspection station by federal and state officers. Vehicles inspected included passenger vans operated by local hotels for touring guests, vans operated by bicycle tour companies, commercial passenger buses, delivery vehicles, construction vehicles, and one commercial well drilling truck that was illegally traveling through the park. A total of 45 commercial vehicles were checked for safety issues that could lead to motor vehicle accidents, injuries to passengers and others, and/or resource damage to the park.

The inspections resulted in five vehicles being parked because their drivers had worked too many hours or had failed to properly log their hours worked. One bus operation was suspended until emergency exits could be repaired, and three other buses were taken out of service due to tire, brake and steering failures—two of these buses were operated by the same company, which had to arrange to have their buses towed from the park as they were unsafe to operate. In addition, one delivery truck was taken out of service until the brakes were repaired.

A total of 21 warnings were issued for seatbelt violations, and one person was issued a violation notice and mandatory court appearance for possession of a controlled substance.

This was the first time in several years that an interagency inspection program took place in the park. As safety violations are identified and addressed, it is expected that commercial vehicle operators and companies will improve their safety operations.