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.