Lawmen fight drugs and terrorism during check of commercial vehicles

Sgt. Pete Wilson
Sgt. Pete Wilson

SHELBYVILLE, KY (WAVE) - Kentucky State Police are trying to make the roads of the Commonwealth safer for drivers and reduce the number of crashes involving commercial trucks. Law enforcement agents from across the state, nation, Canada and Mexico are inspecting thousands of commercial trucks in this year's 72-hour Road Check.

At a weigh station on Interstate 64 in Shelbyville, truck after truck rolled on through Thursday, but some were pulled over randomly for a complete inspection.

"Safety wise, you're looking for mechanical problems on the truck," said Sgt. Pete Wilson, a vehicle enforcement inspector with Kentucky State Police. "We have a 13-point inspection. We walk around, we go underneath the vehicles checking brakes, things like that."

While we were there, the inspection process took one driver's tractor-trailer out of service. Officers with Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement said there were a slew of violations, including two cracked rims on the front wheels. The driver must get the problems fixed before he can return to the road.

"I want to emphasize the safety, not only of the larger trucks on the roadway, but the smaller cars that pass them," said Officer Drexel Burdette of the KSP Vehicle Enforcement Division.

KSP officials say they're trying to reduce the number of accidents involving commercial vehicles.

"Making sure that the vehicles are safe. Making sure the brakes work. Making sure the vehicle can stop with the weight their carrying. Making sure the drivers are not tired," Wilson said.

It's not just the semis themselves that pose dangers. It's what some of the drivers are hiding in them.

"People are deceptive," said Wilson, "that they're running narcotics, money, things like that in commercial vehicles."

Wilson says it's a problem because the big rigs can transport large amounts of drugs and it is easier to conceal contraband in their loads. But Wilson says state police are also fighting another problem.

"You also have a problem with terrorism where you have to check and make sure that everything in the vehicle is with the load bills that they're hauling," Wilson said.

Last year, more than 65,000 vehicles were inspected across North America during the safety road check.

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