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DPS cracks down on fatigued truck drivers

PHOENIX — As the news of actor and comedian Tracy Morgan being seriously injured in a car wreck that allegedly involved a truck driver who was seriously fatigued at the time of the crash made national headlines, the Arizona Department of Public Safety said they put more than 150 drivers out of service for similar violations last week.

DPS Officer Carrick Cook said the agency took part in a nationwide operation called “Operation Roadcheck” that involved 60 DPS officers keeping an eye out for commercial vehicle violations along I-40 near Flagstaff, Ariz.

“We’re out there making sure that these drivers are driving the way they should be,” he said.

Officers pulled over and inspected 1,249 commercial vehicles looking for various violations, Cook said.

“Brakes not working, driving too long and right now that kind of the topic across the country is drivers driving for too long and being fatigued,” he said.

Cook said driving while tired is a serious danger to other drivers on the road, but even more so for commercial trucks.

“I think anybody that’s been behind the wheel and started to fall asleep — it’s scary,” he said. “But imagine having a vehicle that has 80,000 pounds of responsibility going down the road.”

Of the 1,249 vehicles inspected, Cook noted 164 drivers and 160 vehicles were taken out of service, many of those for exceeding the maximum number of hours allowed behind the wheel.

“These drivers want to put their pocket book in front of what right,” he said.

Operation Roadcheck was a national initiative that involved about 10,000 officers training in commercial vehicle inspection looking for violations across the country, according to a press release.