Carroll finds equipment overdue for checkup

County reviewed records after state said it failed to have vehicles inspected

January 06, 2004|By Hanah Cho | Hanah Cho,SUN STAFF

Carroll County transportation officials have found after examining vehicle maintenance records that seven county-owned vehicles and other pieces of equipment were overdue for state-required inspection.

The county's Bureau of Fleet Management and Warehouse Operations recently completed its review of the records after the bureau was charged last month with violating a state law requiring annual inspections and repairs of large trucks and equipment.

County officials blamed confusing recordkeeping that led an inspector from the state police's Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Section to believe that county-owned vehicles were not being inspected. Officials said the county vehicles were mostly in compliance.

Ralph E. Green, director of the county Department of General Services, which oversees fleet management, said yesterday that inspection of the seven pieces of equipment or vehicles is expected to be completed by the end of the week.

"We will stay in compliance," Green said.

The fleet management bureau, which maintains and repairs about 700 vehicles, has begun using a new form tracking the maintenance of the 128 vehicles and other pieces of equipment that fall under the state Department of Transportation's law requiring annual inspections, Green said.

Responding to an anonymous tip, a state police inspector issued a citation Dec. 3 charging that county fleet vehicles were not being inspected as required by law. The county was fined $1,023, which officials plan to appeal. The citation did not say what types of vehicles were overdue for inspection.

Under state law, trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds, passenger buses, tractors and semi-trailers must be "inspected, maintained and repaired" every 25,000 miles or every 12 months, whichever comes first.

The state police inspector found that the county fleet management bureau had not maintained complete records on all the vehicles it owns, according to the inspector's audit report.

From now on, Green said, the bureau's recordkeeping system will be more efficient and understandable. Instead of keeping two sets of records, one for Transportation Department inspections and the other for its maintenance examinations, the bureau will keep track of both types of inspections by using one document, Green said.

As a result of having two sets of records, the inspector only examined records detailing the required annual inspections, which were outdated, Green said last month. The other set of records would have shown that most of the checks required by the DOT were completed, he said.

The fleet management bureau also will be using a database listing the vehicles that need annual inspections and a program to remind officials of inspections 30 days before they are due, Green said.

Found to be overdue for inspections were a trailer, an excavator, a dump truck that is expected to be auctioned off, a dump truck used and parked at Piney Run Park, a flatbed truck, a utility pickup truck and a rollback truck.

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