Harrison County Program Is First In Country

Motor Carrier Unit Supervisor Dane Maxwell says, "They're going to model the other programs that they implement throughout the United States with us here in Harrison County."

Having said that, the country's roads should be getting safer if the work already done by Harrison County's Motor Carrier Unit is the benchmark. Since December 18th of last year, they've inspected 97 commercial vehicles logging a stunning 532 violations. 153 of those were serious enough to shut trucks down.

Maxwell says the unit is out there to reduce the fatalities involving commercial trucks. "There are big trucks that are on the highway, they're 80,000 pounds, and they run up and down the roads."

At random the Motor Carrier Unit chooses a truck to inspect, usually at locations that are high accident areas. They bring that truck to a site and conduct a thorough inspection that even includes checking for driver fatigue.

Robert Seal is one of the commercial vehicle inspectors and says, "We check their log books to make sure that they're complying with the proper amount of rest compared to the proper amount of driving time."

Maxwell says, "They look for any kind of violation that would cause an accident or lead to something that could cause an accident."

Seal adds, "We check to make sure that the structure of the truck is sound and that all the components are functioning properly."

The 80,000 pound trucks are the same ones that are pulling up behind you on I-10. Maxwell says some have brakes that aren't even hooked up, carrying equipment that's not properly secured, and trailers with missing tires.

"There's no question we've saved lives since we've started this program, I'm just confident we have, and I'm also confident that we're going to continue to do that."

Each Sheriff's Department officer assigned to the Motor Carrier Unit must complete a school and work with certified officers in order to conduct the rigorous inspections properly.