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South County : CHP Uses Aircraft in I-5 Truck Crackdown

A California Highway Patrol aircraft, communicating by radio with two patrol cars on the ground, zeroed in on big-rig trucks Thursday, issuing 24 citations within 90 minutes--10 of them for speeding.

It was the first time a plane had been used in that stretch of Interstate 5, between the county line and Oso Parkway in Mission Viejo, according to Officer Tom Sollie. Thursday’s operation was part of a CHP enforcement effort to halt the “increase in the number of accidents involving trucks,” Sollie said.

Sollie said trucks were involved in 7% of all accidents on south county freeways in 1985, and that in 55% of those instances, truck drivers were at fault.

“We were looking especially for trucks speeding, following too close or having faulty equipment,” Sollie said.

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In addition to the 10 speeding citations, police issued two for tailgating and 12 for faulty equipment.

And there was a side benefit.

“Once they caught on to what was happening,” Sollie said, “all the truckers got on their CB (citizen band) radios and warned each other, and everybody began slowing down.

“That was just fine with us, because we’re out to prevent accidents, not just issue citations.”

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