‘Operation Truck Stop’ enforcement effort targets off-toll-road traffic in Northern Indiana

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Indiana is known for its targeting of truckers relative to the behavioral aspects of on-highway safety — no state devotes a larger share of its focus to ticketing and issuing warnings to drivers for moving-type violations. When officials in the northern part of the state in late June announced a weeklong “Operation Truck Stop” three-county enforcement effort during the July 4 holiday week along U.S. 20, a common Indiana Toll Road alternate, in late June, regular readers could have been forgiven for seeing little news there. As Overdrive‘s reports on the state made clear in the last year, such efforts in Indiana are nothing new.

One hauler who commonly runs through the area, sometime Channel 19 regular Jeff Clark, based in Green Bay, Wis., speculated that Operation Truck Stop was little more than the latest tactic to force truckers back into paying for the Indiana Toll Road. “So this is how Indiana tries to force us onto the turnpike?” he asked in a Facebook post when news broke of the enforcement efforts.

Results from Operation Truck Stop, reported in a variety of venues, including Land Line, cited 243 citations and 289 warnings issued for traffic violations. The Indiana State Police, meanwhile, conducted 74 inspections in tandem with the effort, a drop in the bucket in Indiana’s recent-years 70,000 or so annually conducted inspections.

At once, note the steep drop following the year-2011 high well above 100,000 annual inspections. If efforts like “Operation Truck Stop” continue and/or multiply around other parts of the state, it could presage a return to an even more active program statewide. What are you seeing?

For its focus on moving violations versus equipment, hours and other infractions, regardless, it continues to lead the nation by a somewhat wide margin in our annual CSA’s Data Trail analysis of state inspection/violation data. Following find an interactive map illustrating the toughest states for traffic enforcement through year 2014.

In 2014, the national percentage for such violations encoded on inspection reports was not even 5 percent, while in Indiana nearly a quarter — 24.8 percent — of all violations coded were traffic-enforcement-related, contributing points to carriers’ “Unsafe Driving” BASIC profiles under CSA.

And if owner-operator Clark is right, there’s a better way to get that toll revenue from truckers than threatening to stop and/or stopping trucks along U.S. 20. “Drop the rates,” he wrote. And if local enforcement officials want the trucks to really use the best through route in large numbers, he added: “Better yet, take the tolls off of OUR interstate.”

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