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.
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.
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.