Virtual Commercial Vehicle Compliance Stations: A Review of Legal and Institutional Issues
In the past five years, commercial vehicle travel has increased 60 percent on California's highways, without a corresponding increase in compliance inspection station capacity or enforcement officers. Commercial vehicles that do not comply with regulations impose significant public costs including, for example, pavement and structure damage to roads and catastrophic crashes. In response to these problems, the California Department of Transportation is investigating the potential application of detection and communication technology in virtual compliance stations (VCS) to cost-effectively improve enforcement of commercial vehicle regulations. This study begins with a description of the fledgling VCS research programs in the U.S. as well more advanced international VCS programs. Next, the results of expert interview with key officials involved in the early deployment stages of VCS programs in Kentucky, Florida, Indiana, and Saskatchewan are reported. This is followed by an analysis of institutional barriers to VCS screening and automated enforcement based on the relatively extensive body of literature on the commercial vehicle electronic pre-screening programs and red-light and speeding automated enforcement programs. The paper concludes with some key recommendations to address legal and institutional barriers to VCS deployment in the U.S.