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Truck crackdown produces concerning results

ILLINOIS -- State troopers conducted a 24-hour crackdown on commercial vehicles, and the results are alarming. Nearly half of the trucks inspected were breaking the law in some way. Nearly one-in-ten had to be yanked off the road.

Troopers were looking for any violations under the Illinois vehicle code  and federal motor carrier safety  regulations. Warnings and tickets resulted from more than 14-hundred checks. Some trucks were even taken out of service.
On their way from Wisconsin to southern Illinois, John and Katherine Richardson make a stop in Champaign County. They say some time before they passed a semi-truck driver that made them worry.
"He was either texting or he was going to sleep, one or the two, and definitely should've been off the road," says John Richardson.
The couple says they have plenty of respect for truck drivers, but situations like that make them glad Illinois State Police were keeping a close eye on them, at least for a day. Troopers did more than 1,400 commercial motor vehicle -- or C-M-V inspections. They issued 624 written warnings and 123 citations. They also took 138 "dangerous" trucks and unqualified drivers out of service.
"It does surprise me that we have as many violations that they discovered," says Kent Miller, safety director at Franey Trucking in Champaign.
Part of his job is making sure their trucks and drivers are equipped to be on the road. He says troopers actually checked three of their drivers during the campaign.
"It went very well. We didn't have any violations."
State police say those can come from the driver or the vehicle. A driver on the road for more than the authorized amount of hours or without the right paperwork can be put out of service. So can a truck with unsafe conditions. Miller says his company does 90 day inspections on their trucks and significant training for their drivers, but says they won't resist the occasional check-up from police.
"It keeps the trucking company safe and requires the trucking company to do proper maintenance, keep their drivers in the right hours of service to control fatigue."
Katherine Richardson says, "If they're doing something wrong they should be caught."
They've done this check for four years now in honor of a trooper killed when he was hit by a semi. Trooper Tracy Lillard of District 10 in Pesotum says the number of "out of service" violations was pretty high this year.  Last year they did about 200 more inspections and removed 24 fewer trucks and drivers from the road.
More regulations are on the way for truck drivers across the country. Starting December 18th every commercial vehicle driver will need an Electronic Logging Device. It will help keep track of their hours on the job.

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