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FWPD Cracks Down On Big Rig Safety

FORT WORTH (CBSDFW.COM) - You can't drive on any of the major roads in North Texas without having to cope with 18-wheeler traffic. But how do you know if the massive vehicle next to you is safe? Fort Worth has been operating commercial vehicle inspections at an increased pace to pull unsafe vehicles off of the highway.

"We're looking at load securement, general condition of the truck, driving habits of the truck driver," said Fort Worth Officer Robert Mills with the city's Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Division, or CVE. "We're seeing an increase in the number of trucks. The economy gets better, so does the trucking industry. There are many, many unsafe trucks on the road."

Fort Worth has stepped up their program of inspecting big-rigs in the past eight months.

From lights to brakes, specially trained CVE officers pull over drivers and crawl through every part of the truck, even those areas drivers can't see.

Previous inspections have uncovered brakes needed to slow a massive tractor-trailer were coated in slippery grease, a major bolt needed to keep an axle from falling off a truck missing and a wheel lacking some lug nuts needed to keep it from flying off the truck.

Federal grants allow Fort Worth to increase truck inspections by 25 percent to keep unsafe vehicles off the street. The program also focuses on driver education -- not just truck drivers but car drivers, as well, informing them about how to safely maneuver around big rigs. In only eight months, commercial vehicle crashes are down by nine percent.

"We're never happy about a loss of life, of course," said Mills. "But Fort Worth has had three fatalities involving commercial vehicles this calendar year compared to last year; at this time we had seven. So any decrease we're proud of."

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