NORTH TEXAS (CBSDFW.COM) – Fort Worth Police Department’s Commercial Enforcement Unit is one of the law enforcement agencies in North America taking part in a massive crackdown on truck inspections.
The past three days, officers in the U.S., Mexico and Canada cracked down on truck inspections. The annual operation is called International Roadcheck. An operation near Texas Motor Speedway stopped 300 trucks Wednesday alone. And last year, in Texas, 22 percent of the trucks stopped were found to have safety problems that forced them off the road immediately.
“We’re making sure that these trucks and drivers are in compliance to make sure that they’re not overweight,” said Officer Robert Mills with the Fort Worth Police Department. “We’re looking at brakes. This year’s emphasis is on tires so we’re taking a second look at tires. And it really gives us a chance to interact with the drivers. We learn a little bit from them. They learn a little bit from us.”
Trucking companies are aware of when the international Roadcheck happens. And some say that means the three days after the Roadcheck are the most dangerous days of the year to be on the road.
Some say because truckers know when the international Roadcheck happens, the worst offenders stay off the road. What they call a “Roadcheck Vacation.”
“They may have bad brakes, they may have bad tires, they may have bad couplings,” said Steve Laird, an attorney specializing in transportation cases. “All of these are safety violations they want to try to avoid getting caught at. That’s why they take the three days off during the pre-announced road check inspection time.”
Laird is among those who believe the highways are actually at their most dangerous right after the trucking crackdown, as the truckers who stayed off the road try to make up for lost time.
“When they get back on the road they continue to push the envelope and they’re trying to make up time in hopes of making up money,” Laird said “So, they’re driving distances that are illegal. They are driving hours that are illegal.”
Officer Mills said they don’t think there is a large number of drivers taking the ‘Roadcheck Vacation’ — but they’re not giving any truckers a free pass once the International Roadcheck ends.
“But the enforcement officers are going to be out in force for the next three days as much as we were the last three days,” Mills said. “Or like we are six or seven days a week.”
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