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14th Operation Trucker Check Underway in Eastern Oregon
04/16/2008
Sergeant Alan Hageman
Patrol Services Division
Office: (503) 934-0268

Photograph link valid for 30 days - Source: Oregon State Police
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Impaired truck drivers and unsafe commercial vehicles are again the focus of an interagency police and motor carrier inspector operation currently being undertaken in eastern Oregon during the fourteenth "Operation Trucker Check" at the Farewell Bend Port of Entry westbound Interstate 84 in the Huntington area. During the 72-hour around-the-clock operation that began at 12:01 a.m., April 15th, through 11:59 p.m., April 17th, police officers and truck inspectors will be working with trained Drug Recognition Evaluators (DRE) targeting impairment and vehicle safety.
 
"Operation Trucker Check" involves a team of police officers and ODOT commercial vehicle inspectors, to identify driver impairment related to alcohol, drugs, or fatigue, and vehicle equipment safety. The first operation was held in 1998 at the Ashland Port of Entry and has been previously held at other locations including Woodburn, Ontario, Cascade Locks, and Klamath Falls. The last operation was held September 18- 20, 2007 at the Interstate 84 Cascade Locks Port of Entry.
 
During the September 2007 operation, a total of 512 commercial vehicles were inspected of which 55 (11%) were placed out-of-service for critical safety violations. Ninety-nine (19%) were also placed out-of-service for assorted safety violations including excessive hours, log book deficiencies, and driver qualification issues. Officers and inspectors issued 21 motor carrier-related citations and 606 warnings. Two persons were found in possession of methamphetamine and a third with marijuana.
 
Voluntary urine samples were obtained during Operation Trucker Check XIII to determine the extent of substance abuse by commercial drivers. Additional information about urine test results and a comparison with toxicology test results during four other trucker check operations is available on the Oregon State Police (OSP) website at:
http://www.oregon.gov/OSP/NEWSRL/news/10_11_2007_tox_results_otcxiii.shtml.
 
Collection of voluntary urine samples will not be a part of "Operation Trucker Check XIV". The purpose of collecting urine during the last two trucker check operations was informational only to refresh previous studies done on major north/south and east/west highways.
 
"Since the program's beginning, these around-the-clock unannounced safety inspections have been educational and helped remove several impaired drivers and unsafe vehicles from our highways," said Sergeant Dave MacKenzie, who oversees the OSP Motor Carrier Enforcement Unit.
 
Sergeant MacKenzie pointed out four goals for Operation Trucker Check XIV:
 
1) Identify 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.

 
To help work toward those goals, the Oregon State Police and Oregon Department of Transportation will be 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. Drug Recognition
 
Experts and trained truck inspectors from the Oregon State Police, Baker County Sheriff's Office, Gresham Police Department, Baker City Police Department, and Eugene Police Department are also assigned to the 72-hour operation.
 
According to 2006 statistics provided by Oregon Department of Transportation Motor Carrier Transportation Division (ODOT MCTD):

  • The total number of truck crashes increased in 2006 from the previous year by nearly 7%
  • 59,064 truck safety inspections were conducted in Oregon, up from 55,840 in 2005
  • During inspections, critical safety violations were found in 23.4% of the vehicles and 9.7% of drivers
  • Most common mechanical violation found during inspections is brake-related
  • Over 5,000 truck drivers were caught during inspections falsifying log books or keeping inaccurate driver logs books
 
Media are invited to come to the operation but are requested to contact one of the onsite Oregon State Police representatives to arrange a time. The following OSP contacts can be reached to answer questions and assist with on scene media requests:

 
Day shift (8:00 a.m. 4:00 p.m.) - Sergeant Alan Hageman, cell (503) 931-3085

Afternoon shift (4:00 p.m. 12 midnight) - Sergeant Mark Duncan, cell (541) 212-5685.

 
Questions regarding ODOT MCTD statistics and information should be directed to Ms. Sally Ridenour at (503) 986-3359.