California Highway Patrol teams are watching for truckers who speed, tail-gate and make illegal lane changes in an effort to cut into a 33% jump in truck accidents on Orange County freeways.
The federally financed enforcement effort, which began Thursday, combines truck, motorcycle and patrol car officers into a “truck-watching unit” that concentrates on a specific area of the county and around Long Beach Harbor, where much of the truck traffic originates. The special enforcement will cover the Santa Ana, Long Beach, Riverside, Orange and Costa Mesa freeways.
Some officers have been reassigned to the program, and two trucks have been added, for a total of five in the county, said Officer Kevin Dougherty. In addition to citing drivers for moving violations, the officers will inspect trucks for faulty brakes, poorly secured loads, bad tires and other hazardous conditions.
“We’ll be out there until we see a noticeable reduction in the accident rate,” he said.
There were 1,163 truck-involved accidents from January to November, 1984, said Dougherty, an increase of 33% over 1983. He said about 90% of the accidents caused by a truck are the driver’s fault, and the others are equipment-related.
Dougherty said truck accidents often cause long traffic jams, due to the size of the vehicles and spilled loads.