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"Operation Trucker Check 16" - Woodburn Port of Entry
04/08/2009
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
Office: (503) 731-3020 ext. 247

Photograph links valid for 30 days - Source: Oregon State Police
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The 16th interagency operation focusing on removing impaired truck drivers and unsafe commercial vehicles from Oregon's roads is currently underway at the Interstate 5 Woodburn Port of Entry. "Operation Trucker Check", a 72-hour interagency police and motor carrier operation, began at 12:01 a.m., April 7th, and runs through 11:59 p.m., April 9th, with police officers and truck inspectors working with Drug Recognition Evaluators (DRE) and K9 officers targeting operator impairment, vehicle safety, and potential criminal activity related to commercial vehicle operations.

 
"Operation Trucker Check" is a successful enforcement and inspection program that provides an ongoing look into commercial vehicle and driver safety. The around-the-clock operation involves a team of police officers and Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) commercial vehicle inspectors looking for driver impairment related to alcohol, drugs, or fatigue, and vehicle equipment safety. First held in 1998 at the Ashland Port of Entry, the trucker check operations have previously been held at the Woodburn Port of Entry as well as in Klamath Falls, Ontario, and Cascade Locks.
 
An example of what police and motor carrier inspectors are looking for happened during the first day's operation when Oregon State Police (OSP) troopers arrested a driver and passenger, both from Utah, on drug-related charges after they were found in possession of methamphetamine and hydrocodone. Their scheduled trip was cut short when troopers lodged them in Marion County Jail. (Photographs of the seized drugs provided with this release)

 
The last "Operation Trucker Check" was held September 23 - 25, 2008 at the Klamath Falls Port of Entry on Highway 97. Of the 342 inspections conducted, 9 percent resulted in commercial vehicles being placed out of service and 11 percent of the drivers were placed out of service. Officers and inspectors issued 34 motor carrier-related citations and 327 warnings. Five arrests were made for Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants; four of which were commercial truck drivers, and another three commercial drivers were stopped from driving further due to their fatigued condition.
 
One year ago, the fourteenth Operation Trucker Check held at the westbound Interstate 84 Farewell Bend Port of Entry resulted in 12 percent of commercial vehicles and 14 percent of drivers being placed out of service.

 
"The success of a program can be measured by its duration and how others look at it to develop their own programs," said Sergeant Dave MacKenzie, who oversees the OSP Motor Carrier Enforcement Unit. "The fact that this is now the 16th trucker check operation which is now being copied in other states speaks to the positive impact these interagency operations are having. With the support of the Oregon Trucking Association, these unannounced safety inspections get dangerous impaired drivers and unsafe vehicles off the road before something bad happens."

 
Sergeant MacKenzie pointed out the program's four goals for "Operation Trucker Check 16":

 
1) Identifying commercial vehicle driver and equipment violations, with an emphasis on out-of-service violations;
2) Detecting operator impairment by alcohol and/or substance abuse;
3) Detecting operator impairment by fatigue; and,
4) Detecting any criminal activity occurring in conjunction with commercial motor vehicle operations.

 
Oregon State Police (OSP) and ODOT will work toward these goals by conducting Level I, Level II, and Level III truck inspections to identify drivers impaired by fatigue or substances, compliance with federal hours of service regulations, and federal requirement for commercial motor vehicle safety equipment. Trained Drug Recognition Evaluators (DREs) from OSP and the following agencies will evaluate and identify drug or alcohol impaired drivers:
  • Clackamas County Sheriff's Office
  • Washington County Sheriff's Office
  • Portland Police Bureau
  • Woodburn Police Department
  • Beaverton Police Department
  • Aurora Police Department
 
According to 2008 statistics provided by ODOT's Motor Carrier Transportation Division:
  • 60,550 truck safety inspections were conducted in Oregon, down from 61,349 in 2007
  • During inspections, critical safety violations were found in 28% of the vehicles and 19% of drivers
  • Most common mechanical violation found during inspections continues to be brake-related
  • Over 9,900 truck drivers were caught during inspections falsifying log books or keeping inaccurate driver logs books, a sharp rise from the more than 7,000 drivers caught in 2007 and more than 5,000 in 2006

 
Additional motor carrier related information and statistics is available on ODOT's Web site at www.oregon.gov/ODOT/MCT/SAFETY.shtml.
 
Questions regarding ODOT MCTD statistics and information should be directed to Ms. Sally Ridenour at (503) 986-3359.