California targets trucks and four-wheelers in crackdown

| 7/20/2005

Erik Estrada would be proud.

In response to a number of accidents along three major roadways in the state, the California Highway Patrol has started a 15-month crackdown on unsafe drivers. But unlike many such efforts that place the blame squarely on the shoulders of truckers, this enforcement operation is aimed at big rigs and four-wheelers.

“Most truckers are true professionals, but there are a number who are overly aggressive,” CHP spokesperson Wayne Ziese told the San Jose Mercury News.

“And, we are going to be targeting (auto) drivers, like those who cut truckers off at the last moment.”

According to the Times-Herald, the $1.7 million enforcement effort will fund faster, more stealthy patrol cars and more than 3,200 hours of overtime for officers.

The enforcement effort will primarily take place on three roadways in northern California: Interstate 880 from San Jose to Oakland, I-580 from Hayward to the Altamont Pass and I-80 from the Bay Bridge to Dixon in Solano County.

Although the effort has been in the planning stages for months, a series of recent fatal accidents – including the deaths of three people after their car cut in front of a truck – have pushed the crackdown’s July 20 start date into the limelight.

“The vast majority of problems I see with big rigs are cars not giving them enough room, or big rigs trying to bully their way into places,” Roger Hook, a frequent commuter on the newly enforced interstates, told the Mercury News. “If they can stop this kind of behavior, then sharing the road with them will be much simpler, not to mention safer.”

– By Aaron Ladage, staff writer