State public safety officers
introduced new thermal imaging devices Aug. 2 to help troopers
spot trucks with malfunctioning brakes. Officers plan to use the
devices for Level 1 inspections.
According to a published
report, the thermal device looks like a handheld video camera,
wired to a portable LCD display screen. The camera detects heat
in the infrared light spectrum, showing heat spots in bright white
on the black-and-white display.
Officers plan to park at
locations where trucks apply the brakes, such as highway exit
ramps, truckstops and weigh stations, and aim the device at the
A quick scan would reveal
cool, non-functional brakes as black or dark gray shades on the
display, Capt. Harry Kearley, commander of the state Motor Carrier
Safety Unit said. "Functioning brakes show up in white circles,
and brighter, larger spots of white would show brakes that are
The money for the pricey
devices -- $78,000 for seven units -- was provided by a grant
from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The Alabama
Trucking Association funded the remaining 20 percent.