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Unsafe Commercial Vehicles and Drivers Target of "Operation Trucker Check 17"
09/23/2009
Lieutenant Gregg Hastings
Public Information Officer
(503) 731-3020 ext. 247
 
Ms. Sally Ridenour
ODOT Public Affairs
(503) 986-3359

The 17th interagency operation focusing on removing impaired truck drivers and unsafe commercial vehicles from Oregon's roads is currently underway at the Interstate 5 Ashland Port of Entry. "Operation Trucker Check", a 48-hour interagency operation, began at 12:01 a.m., September 22, and ends at 11:59 p.m., September 23, 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.
 
First held in 1998 at the Ashland Port of Entry, "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. Trucker check operations have also previously been held at the Woodburn Port of Entry and in Klamath Falls, Ontario, and Cascade Locks.
 
The last "Operation Trucker Check" was held during a 72-hour period April 7 – 9, 2009 at the Interstate 5 Woodburn Port of Entry. A total of 463 commercial vehicles were inspected of which 53 (11.4%) were placed out-service for critical safety violations. Ninety-three (93) drivers were also placed out-of-service for assorted safety violations including excessive driving hours, log book deficiencies, and driver qualification issues. Officers and inspectors issued 42 motor carrier-related citations and 367 warnings. Five arrests were made for Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants and four drivers were cited for Driving While Suspended.
 
"This program continues to be successful and is a blueprint for how others have developed similar trucker inspection programs in other parts of the country," said Sergeant Dave MacKenzie, who oversees the OSP Motor Carrier Enforcement Unit. "With the support of the Oregon Trucking Association, ODOT and participating police agencies, these unannounced safety inspections help 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 17":
 

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:
 
Ashland Police Department
Eugene Police Department
Corvallis Police Department
Medford 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 found during inspections falsifying or keeping inaccurate log 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.