Checking Truck Drivers' Licenses

California Highway Patrol officers were quoted as saying that the driver of the highly flammable propane gas tractor-trailer truck that recently crashed into the rear of a car on Interstate 5 in San Juan Capistrano had only an "ordinary California driver's license," not one that qualified him to drive "big" rigs.

The driver's manager and chief dispatcher in Tijuana blames the California Department of Motor Vehicles for his driver not having a proper license.

The blame should not lie with the DMV. It is in no position to actually see or police a person as to what they drive after a license is issued to them.

The California Highway Patrol maintains truck weighing stations throughout California. I phoned a major trucking line and was informed by the dispatcher that drivers are only asked to show their license if the truck is overweight.

If this is the case, then some of the most dangerous trucks on our freeway systems, those carrying liquid gas and other flammable products, are escaping law enforcement scrutiny because they are seldom if ever overweight due to the products they carry.

Statistics show driver error is involved in about 92% of all truck-related accidents. Passenger car drivers and, I am sure, responsible truck drivers have had to worry for years about trucks and the unsafe way some of them are driven.

Now, there is one other worry brought to the driving public's attention over this latest accident. Does the truck driver have the knowledge and proper license to operate the truck he is driving?

It would help the peace of mind of all drivers to know that the California Highway Patrol checks the truck driver's license when passing through these weight stations. Let's not wait until people are killed before putting this simple check into effect.

JOE C. CATRON

Irvine

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