JACKSON COUNTY, MS (WLOX) - The Mississippi Department of Transportation on Friday unveiled new state of the art equipment that will easily detect large trucks and carriers that are dangers on the road. The Orange Grove Weigh Station in Jackson County is the first on the coast to take advantage of the new "Smart Roadside" program.
We all have to share the road with 18 wheelers and other large trucks. Now, MDOT has new hi-tech gadgets set up to identify problem trucks. Law enforcement Director Willie Huff said the $7 million upgrade includes an infrared camera that connects to a computer to spot leaks and other problems.
"If he doesn't see heat where it is supposed to be, there are problems with the brakes. If there is heat where it shouldn't be, there is some other problem and it needs to be inspected," Huff said.
There is also a camera on the interstate that will focus on license plates and feed information about the big rigs from a national database.
"It is to determine if that truck is legal to be on the road, has a good safety inspection or doesn't have a good safety inspection. It also determines whether it has insurance on the truck or not, whether it is stolen or not. And all that is done electronically by the time you can blink your eye.
Huff said this first South Mississippi weigh station to get the technology makeover. More than 2,500 trucks pass here each day and he said these tools are already helping make our highways safer.
"We would randomly select a truck that was coming for a safety check. Now, we are more selective in our efforts so it alleviates the unnecessary stopping of vehicles."
MDOT also has this mobile unit and it is fully equipped with all the new technology. It will act as a mini weigh station, traveling to different roads and rural areas to catch violators.
"We also hope that folks will know about it, and they will wonder where it is and they will do right."
More than 63,000 commercial vehicles have been inspected state-wide this year. Huff said the new process will reduce the number of routine inspection stops by at least 20 percent.