Indiana’s ‘Trooper in a Truck’ patrol lets officers see traffic hazards from truckers’ point of view

Indiana’s ‘Trooper in a Truck’ patrol lets officers see traffic hazards from truckers’ point of view
Lee Wright, left, a retired aviation sergeant with the Indiana State Police, and State Trooper Jacob Raupp, right, rode along with professional driver Arthur Cook during a Trooper in a Truck enforcement blitz July 14, 2021. (Courtesy: ISP via Facebook)

LOWELL, Ind. — Officers with the Indiana State Police (ISP) had a chance to observe traffic from the cab of a big rig during a Trooper in a Truck enforcement patrol July 14.

Working through ISP’s Commercial Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division, troopers from the Lowell, Toll Road, Indianapolis and Sellersburg posts partnered with the Indiana Motor Truck Association during the initiative, while ISP’s Commercial Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division teamed up with the ISP Aviation Section and district troopers to focus on the enforcement of unsafe and aggressive driving behaviors around commercial vehicles.

The Trooper in a Truck initiative places a trooper in a commercial motor vehicle operated by a trained, qualified CDL driver. During the ride, the trooper watches for violations. While no dangerous traffic violations will be ignored during such ride-alongs, the July 14 event primarily allowed officers to watch for violations of Indiana’s “hand free” law. According to ISP, even though the law, which prohibits the use of handheld communication devices in all but emergency situations, has been in effect for over a year, distracted driving continues to be major problem on the state’s roadways.

“The Indiana Motor Truck Association and its member carriers are partnering with ISP in this endeavor by providing the trucks and drivers,” said Maj. Jon Smithers, commander of ISP’s Commercial Motor Vehicle Enforcement Division. “The IMTA and CVED have long had a strong and mutually supportive relationship, as improving highway safety is a shared goal. The IMTA and its members have long been leading advocates for the implementation and enforcement of a strong and effective hands-free law and are passionate about educating our citizens about the dangers of distracted driving.”

Crashes involving large trucks are often high profile and may result in tragic consequences, according to a statement from ISP. While the statistics vary some, studies show that in crashes involving large trucks, it is more often the case in which it is the fault of the other vehicle. A large, heavy truck is far less maneuverable and takes substantially more distance to stop than a smaller vehicle. Unsafe, aggressive driving behaviors near a truck may lead to disastrous results.

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I am a trucker myself, and I feel that there should be more of this. 98% of the people that pass me is texting. And nothing can be done about it. I wish there was more police officer’s who drive semi’s and had a radio in their truck to radio ahead to police officers waiting to pull over the people who was seen breaking the laws. And the fines are not stiff enough!

We don’t need police driving big rigs that just will make our job more of a headache. We all ready have a lot on our plate, but what thy need to do is to keep them 4wheelers out of our line until they need to exit a of the time thy want us to use this r that line& we may need to exit &so they don’t let us exit the need to read all signs to that will make things go smoothly also we r not the blame 4every accident on these roads. They don’t realize r don’t care of the importants & the weight that we have to worry about.