Effort focuses on commercial vehicle safety

Published 12:00 am Friday, September 30, 2005

Plans to enforce safety got off to an early start but will run around the clock.

On Thursday morning at 6 a.m., officers from law enforcement agencies in Kentucky, West Virginia and Ohio kicked off a 24-hour commercial motor vehicle safety effort.

The event covers all three states, where officers were saturated in specific areas of concern. The purpose of the program is to increase commercial motor vehicle safety and weight enforcement.

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"For our area, our foremost effort is crash violations," Lt. Carl Roark of the Ohio State Highway Patrol said. "There is a specific emphasis on following too close and speeding, those are what commercial vehicles that are involved in crashes have in common."

This was a multi-agency effort, Lt. Roark said. They have portable scales for weight violations and Motor Carrier Enforcement Inspectors (MCEI), who are the personnel approved to inspect for federal violations.

Lt. Roark said commercial vehicles are involved in crashes in the county.

In the effort to reduce crashes, especially fatal crashes, Roark said, officers need to make sure the vehicle laws are being enforced. He also pointed out that many trucks coming through the county move on to other locations.

Two areas they were targeting were commercial vehicle enforcement, such as overweight trucks and equipment violations, and aggressive driving according to Captain Skip Dodd of the Ohio State Highway Patrol. Dodd oversees licensing and commercial operation throughout the state.

"We're very excited to be working with Kentucky and West Virginia," he said. "The problems don't stop at the state lines; they face the same issues that we do. When we work like this together, we seem to get more bang for the buck."

Kentucky has highway issues as everyone does, Greg Howard, commander of Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement said. Kentucky has been involved in a Tri-State effort several times, Howard said, and it is great to team up with other law enforcement agencies.

"We find it a great way to supplement manpower, a great way to close the loop on some commercial violators," he said. "It's also a great way to target aggressive driving and overweight regulations."

Law enforcement will be seeking out violators and issue citations of not only weight laws but speeding laws and any safety issues, Gary Edgell, deputy director of the Motor Carrier Division, Public Service Commission of West Virginia said.

"Today we are involved in a three state initiative with West Virginia being involved with Ohio and Kentucky in an effort to reduce accidents involving commercial vehicles," he said. "This particular area we are involved in today is what we have identified in West Virginia as a high accident area."

The program ended at 6 a.m. this morning. The Tri-State effort to enforce commercial vehicle safety had one common goal and that was to keep highway motorists safe - an effort that goes on every day.