New Technology Aimed at Making Commercial Truck Traffic SaferBy Lawayne Childrey | Published 05 Dec 2010 09:32am |
The Mississippi Department of Transportation is rolling out new technology along the state’s highways to ensure more commercial truck safety. MPB’s Phoebe Judge reports.
I-10 crosses Mississippi along the Gulf Coast, and is one of the busiest roadways in the state and a main passageway for travelers heading from the east to west coasts. Which made it the perfect choice for the Mississippi Department of Transportation to roll out new technology which aims to make commercial truck traffic safer. Mississippi is the first state in the country to use the technology, which includes a mobile van parked at weigh stations which uses an infrared camera to scan commercials trucks license plates and also looks for potential safety hazards. Trucks can then be pulled over for more extensive screening. MDOT Law Enforcement director Willie Huff says this will make a great difference in safety on the state’s highways,
“Commercial motor vehicle traffic is increasing, we have had more and more accidents involving 18 wheelers recently then we have had in the past. And the weight that they have and the speed that they travel it is critical for all of their safety functions on that vehicle to be working properly.”
In the past safety checks were done only a random basis at the state’s weigh stations. Now those trucks with good safety records will be passed by, leaving more time to focus on trucks with potential issues.
MDOT Sgt. Jason Rickman is sitting in the new mobile van watching the trucks wheels on a screen as they pass by the infrared camera. He says one of the main concerns is how well the brakes are working,
“We are looking for the heat that would be radiating from the brakes so we know that they are in operation. A vehicle weighing 80,000 pounds it obviously needs to be able to stop that amount of weight.”
The new technology is funded in part by a $3.5 million dollar grant from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. Chief Huff says that after this trial run on 1-10, they hope to bring the technology to other parts of the state.
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