California Strengthens Truck Enforcement

The California Highway Patrol recently kicked off its Road Share 2001 program, which targets speeding truckers and motorists who are unsafe around trucks. In June, officers issued 3,000 citations in the first 12 hours of the crackdown and more than 2,000 the second day, according to Chief Stan Perez, head of CHP’s enforcement services division.

“Truck enforcement has been one of the top five or six priorities for the CHP along with DUI and safety belt use enforcement,” Anne DeVigo, from the CHP’s department of public affairs, said. “The number of crashes and the number of fatal truck crashes went up last year and we’ve been getting a lot of letters regarding speeding trucks.”

According to Perez, all eight CHP divisions will participate in the enforcement effort. A CHP press release said officers in fixed-wing aircraft coordinate with ground patrols “to target top collision factors including speeding, unsafe lane changes and turns, following too closely, sign and signal violations, and fatigue.”

The CHP says the program will continue throughout the summer and early fall with a maximum enforcement effort at least one or two days a week. “We will continue maximum enforcement throughout the summer to try to get truck speed down to a safe level,” DeVigo said. The program also targets motorists driving in an unsafe manner around trucks, and several hundred received citations in the first day of the enforcement effort, according to Perez.

“When we have a rise in accidents, we’re looking at everything: speed, congestion and other factors,” he said. “The primary collision factor with truck-involved accidents is speed,” Perez added. “Ultimately, what we want to do is improve truck safety. Much of what we’ve been doing, we’ll have to continue” to slow trucks down.

Perez sees an impact on truck speeds already. “Operation Road Share has had the most significant, immediate impact on truck safety.” He said the fact officers wrote nearly 1,000 fewer tickets on the second day of the program than on the first day showed truckers were slowing down. “We’ve seen results in the first two weeks.” The CHP hopes to have solid data on the program later in the year.