GRAND CANYON, Arizona — One of the world’s most popular tourist destinations may soon welcome another of the nation’s largest commercial vehicle inspections.
A spokesman for the National Park Service said its law enforcement arm at Grand Canyon National Park does not discuss plans for blitzes in advance, but they seem to take place most years, often in October.
The 2016 commercial vehicle inspection was held on October 3 and 5, according to a press release from the park service. A team of 17 National Park Service employees, 50 personnel from the Arizona Department of Public Safety and four from the U.S. Department of Transportation inspected 208 commercial vehicles.
Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance stickers were awarded to 142 vehicles that were free of safety violations. The remaining 66 vehicles were issued 237 violations, resulting in out-of-service orders for eight drivers and 12 vehicles.
“Some of the major violations included a bus with a six-inch crack in its frame near the engine mount and several vehicles with at least one inoperable brake,” the release stated.
“National Park Service staff also conducted a simultaneous Commercial Use Authorization audit of all passenger-carrying vehicles included in the inspection. Staff detected eight violations for either violations of terms and conditions of a CUA or failure to obtain a CUA.”
Grand Canyon National Park attracted nearly six million visitors last year. July was the busiest month — 839,086 people arrived in 231,262 vehicles. October was the sixth-busiest month but still accounted for 517,791 tourists and 179,989 vehicle entrances.
The statistics do not identify the classes of vehicles entering the park’s four districts.
The park service spokesman said the inspections are planned to accommodate the scheduling of the park service, state and DOT inspectors.
The attendance numbers are astounding for such a remote location, which makes it one of the most awkward places for a motorcoach or driver to be put out of service. The nearest city is Flagstaff, Ariz., which is 90 miles away. Phoenix is four hours away and Las Vegas is four and one-half hours away.
The park service did not issue a press release about inspections in 2015. Its 2014 announcement cited 271 violations found on 182 commercial vehicles.
That release noted that all members of the Grand Canyon Fee and Commercial Enforcement Unit “hold full Level 1 certifications from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration with a passenger vehicle endorsement. Commercial vehicle inspections are conducted as part of daily patrols anywhere within Grand Canyon National Park ensuring compliance with USDOT and NPS regulations.”