California pays CHP overtime to track truckers

| 1/8/2002

A $1.2 million program launched this week in California has police working overtime to track down unsafe truckers. The states says the 18-month program is designed to reduce big rig accidents by 5 percent.

With the help of a state grant, the California Highway Patrol will pay officers about 23,000 hours of overtime to watch for and ticket truckers who speed, follow too closely, make unsafe lane changes or other offenses. CHP is also adding new sleek Camaros, camouflaged to blend into traffic, to the patrol's fleet of 64 white Ford Crown Victoria sedans already monitoring big rigs on the freeways.

The effort is part of a larger crackdown that was prompted by an increase in truck crashes in the state last summer. Collisions where a truckdriver was at fault increased 9.5 percent between 1999 and 2000, according to the CHP. Truck fatalities also were up 8.2 percent during the same period.