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Tenn. Troopers Use Heavy Duty Truck To Catch Traffic Scofflaws

March 18, 2013  | 

Photo courtesy of Tennessee Highway Patrol.
Photo courtesy of Tennessee Highway Patrol.

A group of Tennessee Highway Patrol troopers stationed in Chattanooga have been using an innovative approach to catch traffic scofflaws who text or drink while driving. They've been using a heavy-duty truck.

Troopers with a commercial truck license have been taking out the Highway Patrol's 18-wheel Peterbilt tractor-trailer so they can see down into vehicles and catch moving violations.

"The purpose of the truck is to educate drivers to safety drive with trucks," Jennifer Donnals, a Highway Patrol spokeswoman, told POLICE Magazine. "They're taking this truck and repurposing it for this campaign."

The Highway Patrol's Lt. John Harmon headed up the initiative as part of his "Stay Alive on 75," a program to raise awareness among motorists traveling Interstate 75 with heavy-duty trucks. The department operates what troopers call a "No Zone" truck so drivers can avoid entering a truck's blind spot.

Lt. Harmon was given approval to use the truck for highway interdiction. Of the 783 Tennessee troopers, 96 have a a commercial license. Many of those are Class A, which is required to operate an 18-wheel rig.

The agency seized the truck a decade ago from a marijuana trafficker and reformatted it for safety education work. The rig was painted to look like one of the patrol cars. A lightbar was affixed to the roof. And radio equipment has been installed in the cockpit.

"We were driving down the road and watching people text and drive," Lt. Harmon said. "We realized we could see everything up here."

The Highway Patrol doesn't make traffic stops with the truck. Instead, troopers radio ahead for a trooper in a patrol car to pull over the suspected violator. A second trooper rides in the truck's "jump" or passenger seat to operate the radio.

By Paul Clinton

Tags: Traffic Enforcement, Tennessee Highway Patrol, Alternative Patrol Vehicles


Comments (5)

Displaying 1 - 5 of 5

Debbie @ 3/20/2013 1:03 AM

That's great!! LMAO!!

Greg Fuller @ 3/20/2013 5:48 AM

Been driving for 33 years (5 million safe) its amazing what you can see from up here.?? Thanks THP for your support in ending texting and driving, maybe the same fine for the cars as the trucks, then you would get there Attention... God Bless be safe..!!

Firecop @ 3/22/2013 5:15 AM

Great idea. I hope the big rig has front and rear radar and a full LPR on it to catch many unsuspecting members of the motoring public as they tear down the interstate. An article on the success of this program down the road would be interesting. Stay safe.

Phil @ 3/25/2013 5:25 PM

absolutely phenomenal we have 1 of those around our in pounds seized about 4 years ago it's a 2008 Pete I'm thinking I might have to just steal your idea gentleman with all the credit going to you you may just get a call from my department so we can get the particulars absolutely phenomenal gentleman and ladies keep up the great work brothers and sisters be safe stay safe. Phil

FTP @ 3/6/2014 5:23 PM

This is what revenue generation looks like. Fuck the police

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