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State Police To Join Crackdown On Unsafe Truck Drivers

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Illinois State Police have joined their counterparts in a dozen other states for a massive public safety initiative this weekend.

WBBM Newsradio's Mike Krauser reports state troopers planned to focus on commercial drivers along the Interstate 90/94 corridor, in an effort to reduce traffic fatalities, such as a gruesome truck crash that killed four people on Interstate 55 last week.

"The recent fatal crash on I-55 is just another example of the tragic consequences resulting from unsafe commercial motor vehicle driving," District 15 State Police Capt. Luis Gutierrez said.


Troopers plan to pull trucks over to check log books. Francisco Espinal-Quiroz, the truck driver who caused the deadly chain-reaction crash on I-55 last week, allegedly had falsified his log book to show he'd started driving 3 ½ hours later than he actually did.

"We know that fatal crashes involving commercial motor vehicles are often attributed to fatigue, speed, and distracted driving," Gutierrez said.

Several truckers have told the CBS 2 Investigators they are often pressured or coerced to falsify driving logs and to work longer than federal regulations allow.

"One of the many ways that we look at fatigued driving is obviously with the hours of service, record duty status – as is also known as a log book," State Police Master Sgt. Todd Armstrong said.

Starting next year, such log books could become harder to falsify, with an expected move from paper logs to electronic records.

During this weekend's safe driving initiative, state troopers will saturate the Interstate 90/94 corridor to watch for speeding, drunk driving, distracted driving, and failure to wear seatbelts. Speed cameras will be in use in some construction zones. Police also will focus on truck inspections and other illegal activity.

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