defensive driving

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News Release from: Oregon State Police

Impaired truck drivers and unsafe commercial vehicles are again the focus of the 15th interagency police and motor carrier operation currently underway in southern Oregon at the Klamath Falls Port of Entry on Highway 97. During the 72-hour operation that began at 12:01 a.m., September 23rd, and runs through 11:59 p.m., September 25th, police officers and truck inspectors will be working with Drug Recognition Evaluators (DRE) and K9 officers targeting operator impairment and vehicle safety.

“Operation Trucker Check”, a successful enforcement and inspection program that provides an ongoing look into commercial vehicle and driver safety, involves a team of police officers and Oregon Department of Transportation (ODOT) commercial vehicle inspectors looking for driver impairment related to alcohol, drugs, or fatigue, and vehicle equipment safety. First held in 1998 at the Ashland Port of Entry, and now being held for the second time held at Klamath Falls Port of Entry, trucker checks have also been held in Woodburn, Ontario, and Cascade Locks.

The last “Operation Trucker Check” was held April 15 – 17, 2008 at the Farewell Bend Port of Entry westbound Interstate 84 in the Huntington area. Of the 574 inspections conducted, 12 percent resulted in commercial vehicles being placed out of service and 14 percent of the drivers were placed out of service. Officers and inspectors issued 24 motor carrier-related citations and 542 warnings. Six arrests were made for Driving Under the Influence of Intoxicants; four of which were commercial truck drivers.

“The value of this inspection and enforcement program helps keep a keen eye on vehicle and driver safety concerns with the support of the Oregon Trucking Association,” said Sergeant Dave MacKenzie, who oversees the OSP Motor Carrier Enforcement Unit. “These around-the-clock unannounced safety inspections have yanked several impaired drivers and unsafe vehicles off the road before something bad happens.”

Sergeant MacKenzie pointed out the program’s four goals for “Operation Trucker Check XV”:

1) Identifying commercial vehicle driver and equipment violations, with an emphasis on out-of-service violations;
2) Detecting operator impairment by alcohol and/or substance abuse;
3) Detecting operator impairment by fatigue; and,
4) Detecting any criminal activity occurring in conjunction with commercial motor vehicle operations.

Oregon State Police (OSP) and ODOT will work toward these goals by conducting Level I, Level II, and Level III truck inspections to identify drivers impaired by fatigue or substances, compliance with federal hours of service regulations, and federal requirement for commercial motor vehicle safety equipment. Trained Drug Recognition Evaluators (DREs) from OSP, Albany Police Department, Tualatin Police Department, and Klamath Falls Police Department will evaluate and identify drug or alcohol impaired drivers.

According to 2007 statistics provided by ODOT’s Motor Carrier Transportation Division:

* The total number of truck crashes dropped in 2007 from 2006 by over 11%
* 61,349 truck safety inspections were conducted in Oregon, up from 59,064 in 2006
* During inspections, critical safety violations were found in 20% of the vehicles and 14% of drivers
* Most common mechanical violation found during inspections continues to be brake-related
* Over 7,000 truck drivers were caught during inspections falsifying log books or keeping inaccurate driver logs books, a sharp rise from the more than 5,000 drivers caught in 2006

Additional motor carrier related information and statistics is available on ODOT’s Web site at .

Fiery Crash Claims Two Truck Drivers


For Immediate Release

The Idaho State Police are investigating a two-vehicle head on double fatality crash that occurred on Thursday, September 11, 2008 at approximately 03:48 am on SH 28 at milepost 60 (9 miles west of the Lemhi/Clark County line).

Theodore D. Merwin, 48 yrs. old from Hamilton, Montana was traveling east on SH 28 in a 1990 Kenworth logging truck that was empty, when a 2003 Freightliner pulling a box trailer loaded with plastic garbage bins traveling west crossed into the east travel lane and struck the logging truck head on. The collision caused both vehicles to go into the opposite roadsides. The 2003 Freightliner caught on fire destroying the truck and half the trailer. Both drivers were pronounced dead at the scene. Identify of the driver of the 2003 Freightliner will not be released until the immediate family is notified. The crash is still under investigation by the Idaho State Police.

The crash occurred in a remote area of SH 28 and the Emergency Call Box at Gilmore Summit was utilized to notify law enforcement and emergency responders of the collision.

(JB Note: Unfortunately, over the past three days, there have been at least 6 commercial driver deaths in the greater northwest. We pray for the drivers and the family members involved with these tragic events. We don’t publicize these press releases for any other reason than to remind our fellow drivers that we perform a very important, but very dangerous, mission to get products to the store shelves. Let us all take a moment to remember those fallen drivers on this September 11th as we remember those who fight for our freedom and those who lost their lives 7 years ago.)

Rough Week in Eastern Oregon

To say that the Northwest has had it’s share of winter storms is an understatement to say the least! With over 8 times the normal snowfall so far this season, many truckers have found it difficult to traverse the Cascades towards the Seattle and Portland areas. Here are just a few pictures taken by the Oregon State Patrol over the past few days. Apparently the truck above was just plain tired and decided to lay down along side I84 on Cabbage Hill and take a nap!

This guy above had a heck of a time keeping his trailer upright as heavy winds on I84 along Cabbage Hill took him for a ride. The picture below was taken Tuesday along I84 a few miles east of Baker City, Oregon. Not a good day for those folks.

The unlucky driver of the truck below even chained up yesterday and took a ride down the side of a hill east of Baker City, Oregon. These are only a few of the numerous accidents involving trucks this week on I84. The biggest reason for these accidents is SPEED!! Personally, I have counted at least 8 big rigs off the road and into the ditch. Today, just east of the Farewell Bend POE, a D & D Trucking tractor and trailer were sitting off the road, jackknifed, and in the river. A few miles down, I noticed the aftermath of the picture below. When I got to the top of Ladd Canyon, a tanker truck, hauling acid, was on it’s side over the embankment. I was traveling at 55 MPH and it was really too fast for conditions. Even though conditions were almost “white out”, I was passed by several trucks that were easily traveling at least 65 or 70 MPH. Please SLOW down, no load is worth dieing for!

Tanker Tangle on I5 in Seattle

I5 Northbound at Washington SR18, Seattle, WA

This picture shows the aftermath of two big rigs colliding on Interstate 5 at SR 18 in Federal Way, Washington just south of Seattle. Apparently, a bobtail semi and this tanker collided just north of the DOT scales along I5. I am not sure who was at fault or what actually happened, but the incident snarled traffic for hours along I5.

I entered the freeway from Fife, Washington just after this occurred. This happened on Friday, July 27th at about 1430 hours in the afternoon. It took me at least 2 1/2 hours to maneuver my way though the mess, or travel about 4 miles. The backup on I5 was at least 20 miles long at the peak of rush hour, snarling traffic from Seattle to Tacoma in both directions.

The biggest problem of this incident was the diesel fuel spill. The tanker was carrying a full load of diesel and quite a few gallons spilled onto the roadway. This is a great reminder to always look twice at your blind spots to make sure there isn’t another vehicle in that spot. Fortunately, no one got injured in this accident.