Washington state takes a new look at compliance enforcement

By Reed Black, Land Line Now staff reporter | Friday, November 11, 2011

Truckers in Washington state have a new motivation to run compliant.

The state Department of Transportation has installed 12 automated cameras at weigh stations and ports of entry that snap a time-stamped picture of a truck and its license plate as it goes by.

The Washington State Patrol’s Commercial Vehicle Division can then compare those times to a trucker’s logbook to see if a driver is compliant with hours of service. Oregon already has a similar system.

OOIDA Member Dan Boyce of Auburn, WA, figures other states will start using it, too.

“I cannot envision how other states would be looking at this program, analyzing the revenues that would be generated by spending the money for this type of technology and not be jumping right into it. I think it’ll catch fire just like red-light cameras,” Boyce told Land Line Now.

The automated license plate reader is based on technology that has been around awhile, but has not been used in commercial enforcement until recently.

Washington State Patrol Captain Darren Grondel, who heads up the Commercial Vehicle Division, says the program will help get fatigued drivers off the highway. According to a State Patrol news release, the CMV Division found eight drivers involved in crashes who had falsified logs.

“The vast majority of the truck drivers on our roads are safe drivers and follow the rules,” Grondel said in a statement. “But there are a few drivers out there who are irresponsible, and this new computer program will help us get these drivers off the road by verifying logbook entries.”

In a test of the Washington system at the Nisqually Truck Scale on Interstate 5 in August, officers cited 98 drivers for serious logbook violations over a four-day period.

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