Local News

Sep 14, 2010 9:52 PM by Ariel Wesler

CHP steps up patrols and truck inspections on Hwy 154

If you're driving on Highway 154, expect to see more California Highway Patrol officers. The CHP is stepping enforcment, adding more units and ramping up truck inspections. In a single day last week, officers issued eight commercial truck citations and took one vehicle out of service for failing a brake inspection.

It's been three weeks since a runaway truck plowed into a house, killing three people in Santa Barbara. In response, the CHP is putting extra enforcement on Highway 154.

"If you're caught speeding, following too close, crossing over double yellow lines, driving without your headlines, expect to receive a citation, said CHP Officer Jeremy Wayland.

but the big focus in on big rigs. This driver was stopped for a missing a light on his rear license plate. . .not a major violation, but a chance for special Officer Wayne Villard to dig a little deeper.

He checked the driver's paperwork, made some notes, and then did a bumper to bumper inspection.

"Right and left turn signals. I want to see your windshield wipers working," Villard said.

"I expect more from a truck driver than I do from mom and dad, driving the kids to school. They have a big vehicle that they're responsible for," he said.

Many drivers use the 154 as a shortcut--even those that exceed the length restriction. In the trucking businness, saving time means bigger profits. Other times, the CHP says drivers have no idea they've done anything wrong.

"GPS will send them over the 154 without the driver knowing that it's restricted," Villard said.

Officers say most of the time their goal is to educate, not cite.

"The road itself is not dangerous. You need to pay attention and have your wits about you," Villard said.

The CHP offers free commercial safety seminars for truckers. The organization is currently working with Caltrans to post signs on the 154 showing restrictions on truck length. That's 65 or 75 feet depending on the type of truck.

The CHP says it will also be applying for a grant to pay for extra patrols and enhance safety along the pass.

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