JACKSON, Miss. (WJTV) — In a special report, WJTV takes a first-hand look from inside the cab at the most dangerous roads in the state, and what the Mississippi Highway Patrol is doing to control these problem areas.
Ray Riley has dedicated more than a decade of his life to driving 18-wheeler trucks across the country. He currently serves as the safety director at Miller Transporters teaching others the do’s and don’ts of the road.
“Even when we’re put into a bad situation it’s still our responsibility to be alert to know what to do and how to do and what our equipment is capable off to try and avoid any type of collisions and that’s a challenge.”
However, sometimes those crashes are unavoidable and can be deadly.
“When you see something like that what do you think?” “I wonder what happened what were all the circumstances sometimes, you look at something like that, and you jump to conclusions as to what happened it’s much deeper than just what you see.”
Like any Highway Patrol trooper will tell you, there is no one cause for crashes involving tractor trailers, it’s much more complicated than that.
“This particular 18 wheeler up here when he passed us at the lane he went off on the shoulder, and he came back on the road, and he did it two more times when he went off on the shoulder it may be an indication that he’s a tired driver,” said Lt. Walter Riddick of MHP
So to determine the cause of these crashes and prevent as many as possible, MHP has implemented the Motor Carrier Apprehension Program, where troopers ride along with a driver in their truck to scope out violations like speeding or texting once spotted they radio a nearby trooper who pulls the car or truck over.
“We’ve done over 9,000 inspections on motor vehicles we have written over 8,000 citations during the program, and that’s each region Southern, Central, and Northern region working two days a month,” said Captian Scott Carnegie of MHP
Lt. Riddick performs an inspection, checking the driver’s condition and then walking around the truck to check the tires, brakes, and lights.
“He’s got two violations he’s missing a mudflap on the right side, and he also has an air leak on his emergency brake line for the trailer,” he said.
The company now has 15 days to sign the paperwork saying they fixed the problem. Since this program was put into place three years ago, deadly crashes involving 18-wheelers have gone down 30 percent in Mississippi.
“We’ve made seven felony arrests, 12 DUI arrests, we’ve caught stolen property that’s been stolen here just due to observing aggressive drivers around the truck, so it’s come out to be more than just writing speeding tickets,” he said.
But with only two days out of the month dedicated to this program, troopers rely on smart drivers to follow the rules of the road.
“We would like for motorists to be watching for that if they see the truck coming over they’re probably in their blindspot they probably did not see them.” 03:50 “Please give trucks more room it takes more time for a truck to spot so cutting them off jumping right in front of them and slamming on brakes that driver is just in a position he can’t stop.”
The Motor Carrier Safety Division also inspects large coach buses. So far this year, they have performed 170 inspections on those buses.