Reported by: David Rose / Web produced by: Neil Relyea / Photographed by: 9News
First posted: 2/8/2006 11:15:04 PM
There are some drivers that have no business being on the road.
But what 9News uncovered is that “business” is exactly what they’re doing.
9News takes a look at how some drivers are rigged for danger.
They are the pictures, the sounds and the scenes we’ve all viewed time and time again.
Trucks overturned, their cargo thrown all over the road, Lytle Tunnel shut down as crews repair damage done.
A fiery crash and the driver barely makes it out alive.
Lot’s of debris and lot’s of waiting.
The Ohio Kentucky Indiana Regional Council (OKI) estimates 30,000 trucks rumble through the Queen City every day, and Cincinnati bears the scars of the many accidents.
Some truckers feel their fellow drivers have no business on the road.
And 9News has found out that some have no license to be on the road.
It can be an intimidating when your traveling at 65 mph alongside something five times your size.
And you know that if he comes your way, there’s not much you’ll be able to do.
What you don’t know is that the driver in the other lane might be just as scared as you. “They get all nervous and you can see them hesitating,” said truck driver Ken Kelly.
Kelly has been driving a truck for 40 years, and as a veteran of the road, he can easily spot those that don’t belong.
“A lot of times I’ve called the police, 911. I just say the guy is either drunk or he’s incompetent,” said Kelly, “because you can see him going off the road, taking the other lane, just about side-swiping your mirrors.”
Reggie Porter has just logged a full day and is ready for dinner and sleep.
In his five years on the road, he’s run across other drivers who have been given the keys with only six weeks of training.
“I can tell by, the newer guys, they’re always tailgating,” said Porter. “They’re not setting their turns up. They’re trying to do stuff in a truck and trailer that you really don’t have enough space to do.”
What you might not be able to tell about a drier and his rig — these guys can.
9News was there at a spot inspection of trucks set up by the state highway patrol on I-275 outside of Milford.
(Officer) “Are you taking everything down to Cincinnati today?”
The goal is to check everything from the mechanics of the rig.
(Officer) “Turn it all the way out…all the way back in.”
To the paperwork of the drivers.
(Officer) “Make sure everything is valid here. That looks good, registration looks good.
Sergeant Aaron Gentry, of the Ohio State Patrol, leads this group of inspectors.
“We’d like to think what we’re doing is education through enforcement,” Sgt. Gentry told 9News.
Carrier enforcement picked this spot for two reasons.
This stretch of I-275 has become a problem area for truck accidents and it gives inspectors a chance to see more of the local carriers.
In the years he’s been with the state patrol Sgt. Gentry says trucks have gotten safer.
But that doesn’t matter if the driver hasn’t.
“We still have drivers that are trying to get around the system and try to drive as long as they can to get further on their route,” said Sgt. Gentry.’
Sometimes with disastrous results.
“The majority of the crashes we handle, when it’s just the truck involved,” said Sgt. Gentry, “are drivers that fall asleep because they’ve been driving too long.”
Over two days, hours of inspections revealed hundreds of minor violations such as broken lights or balding tires.
More serious violations included flat tires and faulty steering, both of which will take a truck out of service.
But at the heart of your safety are violations where the driver isn’t even qualified to drive.
(Driver) “I’m getting a ticket for no CDL?”
(Officer) “Yeah, because you’re operating this just like your driving your car down the road — basically, like not having a license.
“You’re going to have to get a hold of the company to get somebody out here with a tank endorsement to drive the truck because you can’t drive it.”
Sgt. Gentry wants to stress that truck safety has improved and the majority of truck – car accidents are caused by drivers of the car.
But given the severity of any accident where a truck is involved, he offers this advice.
“If you come across a truck, think to yourself, keep in mind, he’s been driving pretty much all day,” said Sgt. Gentry. “He may be over his hours, so he might be tired.”
Sgt. Gentry also added, “Always consider a truck to be a little more overweight than what he should be,” said give him plenty of room to maneuver.”
Efforts by law enforcement in Northern Kentucky are paying off with a decline in the number of accidents on the cut-in-the-hill on I-75.
In Ohio Sgt. Gentry says expect to see more road side inspections.
The highway patrol is closely watching aggressive driving in the case of both big rigs and the family car.