Commercial Trucks Get Surprise Inspections

By Julie Tam
|  Tuesday, May 10, 2011  |  Updated 5:48 PM CDT
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State troopers are conducting surprise inspections of rock hauling trucks.

Julie Tam, NBCDFW.com

State troopers are conducting surprise inspections of rock hauling trucks.

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One day after a teenage driver was pinned under a rock hauler in a wreck on Interstate 35E, state troopers conducted surprise inspections in Wise County.

Trooper set up a checkpoint off Highway 380, where hundreds of rock and gravel haulers head into the Dallas-Fort Worth area.

The two-part check included a weigh-in and an inspection. State troopers usually just walk around a commercial vehicle, but Tuesday they got down into an underground pit to check underneath.

A loaded rock truck weighs about 80,000 pounds. Troopers say overweight trucks can cause potholes, and bad tires can cause dangerous blowouts.

"When they're that heavy, you need good brakes and good tires to give you good traction to stop," Sgt. Brandon Calvin said. "My family drives the roads like yours does, and if my family's going to be driving down the road, I want a truck that's going to be there with them to be as safe as possible."

Troopers found some violations that were so serious the trucks were taken out of service to be repaired before being allowed back on the roads. Mechanical problems included tires without any tread, leaking tires, malfunctioning brakes and nonworking lights.

Some truck drivers risk citations and fines to avoid spending money on costly repairs. But some drivers said they just didn't realize something was wrong.

"I've been in 635 traffic all morning and no problems," said driver J.C. Sydow, of Southwest Express.

The trucks that passed were rewarded with a special decal.

Troopers conduct regular inspections almost daily and random ones throughout the year.

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