Ohio, Pa. police targeting commercial crash-causing violations

For the first time in several years, police in Ohio and Pennsylvania are teaming up to help prevent some highway crashes.

The Ohio State Highway Patrol and Pennsylvania State Police Commercial Enforcement sections kicked off their targeting of commercial crash-causing violations Wednesday morning.

The joint effort is to increase awareness, enforce and inspect commercial vehicles committing crash-causing violation such as following too closely and unsafe speed. The target enforcement area is Interstate 80.

“Warmer weather is on its way, which increases traffic. When there is more traffic, there will be more cashes,” said Lt. Marvin Hill of the Ohio State Highway Patrol’s investigative unit.

Following too closely and unsafe speed are major commercial crash factors, according to the Ohio State Highway Patrol.

The two agencies will communicate across the state line to keep an eye on potentially dangerous trucks. They also will coordinate target safety enforcement times and random safety inspections.

“If they’re not obeying the traffic laws, they can cause serious damage if they happen to crash,” said Cpl. James R. Willochell, Pennsylvania State Police. “We are out here for their safety and the motoring safety.”

On Wednesday’s launch of the program, officers pulled over a vehicle transporter for speeding. The safety inspection found two of the cars on the trailer were not secured properly.

“This particular vehicle was on the back. It is on an angle with one strap that is holding it on the front,” said Sgt. Allen Ogden, Ohio State Highway Patrol. “It is a potential danger or hazard.”

Other infractions found Wednesday included trucks without regulatory markings and a truck carrying natural gas fracking brine that was overloaded. The truck was stopped until the extra volume could be pumped out.

In addition to overweight loads and speeding, some trucks are being selected for added scrutiny. Higher-level inspections look deeper for hidden problems, like mechanical failure or brake wear.

The police safety detail continues through the summer.

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