Operation Roadcheck targets unsafe tractor trailers and buses

By: Kate Burgess Email
By: Kate Burgess Email

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT)--Some trucks haul up to 80,000 pounds, driving hundreds of miles at high speeds. Last year in our area alone there were almost 700 accidents involving tractor trailers. So for the next 2 days, THP and highway patrol agencies nationwide will be stepping up inspections, to make sure all of the trucks that hit the road are safe.

"That's our main objective out here, is to maintain a safe road, and to make sure that person or persons that are not in compliance with the law, come in compliance with the law," said Tennessee Highway Patrol Sgt. Randall Martin. "The level one inspection is a bumper to bumper, front to rear, top to bottom, inside and out inspection."

And if the truck doesn't pass, THP logs the defects and in some cases, takes the drivers out of service.

Melvin Towe has been driving a rig for 26 years. By now he knows the drill. He said, "I have to stop at each scale, so that way they can make sure that everything is legal and that I'm operating within the realm of the law."

He said sometimes these checkpoints are a hassle, but its worth it to keep the highways safe. "A lot of people think that truck drivers don't want to be safe, but most of us do," he added.

Sgt. Martin agreed, "it's the drivers that refuse to do that, that we're wanting to check, the drivers, the companies, the vehicles... we're trying to get those drivers and companies into compliance."

One of the biggest problems "Operation Roadcheck" is working against is road fatigue; drivers who spend too many hours behind the wheel. Towe said, "some of them do it because they want to and some of them do it because they're pushed that hard. And like anybody, you kind of have a tendency to become disgruntled from time to time. That's dangerous. If you get that way, get off the highway."

And if they don't, THP will cite them and add points to their license.
Operation Roadcheck will continue until Thursday at midnight.

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