Earlier this month, there was a joint operation crossing three counties here in Indiana as various law enforcement agencies worked their “Operation Truck Stop.” Seems that lots of commercial truck traffic had been noticed using U.S. 20 in Indiana and along with all that big rig semi truck traffic, there were concerns over violations of the traffic laws as well as other safety concerns.
What are some of the dangers of commercial trucks on Indiana roads?
1. Fatal Traffic Accidents
Having tractor trailer trucks, big rigs, semi trucks, and other large cargo-loaded vehicles on the roads we all drive brings with it all sorts of dangers. Of course, heavy commercial trucks moving through our part of the country carries a risk of serious motor vehicle accidents where truck crashes often result in deaths.
2. Hot Trucks and Food Poisoning Outbreaks
Additionally, big rigs and semis have other concerns here, like the “hot truck” problem. Cross-contamination and temperature-affected perishables can mean serious health hazards, especially when the cargo is food being transported by truck to local supermarkets and restaurants. State police routinely stop and inspect commercial trucks going through Indiana for violations of Indiana’s new food transport safety law. With the high summer temperatures, the problem of “hot trucks” delivering items that can cause serious food poisoning outbreaks is not only real but a growing problem here.
3. Overweight Trucks and Other Violations
Trucks are required to carry only so much weight for safety reasons. They are also only supposed to carry certain types of cargo on their vehicles, and things like volatile materials either cannot be transported via big rig semi trucks or they have to be moved only on certain routes. This is because not only can these vehicles cause a lot of injury and death if they were to be in an accident, but the products alone are dangerous enough that they could explode, or gases could be released, liquids could spill, etc., that would endanger the public.
Operation Truck Stop Results
It’s tough out there, and the pressure is on commercial truck drivers to meet their deadlines and get that cargo delivered can be intense. So intense, if fact, that drivers may decide to take the risk of driving their hazardous cargo through highly populated areas, or to risk the heat of a hot afternoon drive to get that food to its destination. The truck drivers may opt to drive a rig that is over the weight limits, too.
Trucking is a business where the bottom line can seem so important at the time, and the risk of personal injury to innocents so remote, that bad decisions are made and people get hurt.
Results Applied Statewide: Lots of Danger
Which means that things like the recent Operation Truck Stop act to stop these violations and prevent bad things from happening. Consider this, the statistics for the recent joint operation by the Indiana State Police, etc., on U.S. 20 in just three counties in one week’s time found:
- 243 citations issued
- 289 warnings given
- 36 overweight violations
- 10 impounded trucks
- 105 violations of Federal Motor Carrier Regulations
- 14 commercial vehicles pulled out of service
- 1 arrest for Operating While Intoxicated
- 1 recovery of a stolen assault rifle
- Confiscation of $6,700
- 1 arrest for possession of marijuana
- 3 arrests for reckless driving.
Now, consider multiplying those numbers gathered in one week on one stretch of US 20 here in Indiana, to all 52 weeks of the year. That’s a lot of problems along US 20. Now, consider our other highly used interstates for commercial trucks … and think about the dangers of truck crashes and other trucking accidents that exist everyday in our part of the world.
A good lesson for all of us as we driving alongside those heavy vehicles today — be careful out there!