MARQUETTE - Michigan State Police motor carrier officers in the Upper Peninsula have joined more than 10,000 federal, state and local inspectors from the United States, Canada, and Mexico for an annual 72-hour international enforcement operation that got under way Monday and runs through Thursday.
According to Sgt. Chad Larsen of the commercial vehicle enforcement division in Marquette, all six officers from that division in the U.P., from St. Ignace and Sault Ste. Marie to Wakefield, will be working the detail.
"It's a national deal so it will encompass all the roads in the U.P.," Larsen said. "The Powers (weigh station) is going to be open, two officers there, which is normal operation, along with the Mackinac Bridge and the International Bridge."
A beverage semi-tractor trailer heads west along Wright Street in Marquette. The Michigan State Police is joining enforcement efforts to police commercial vehicles. (Journal file photo by Adelle Whitefoot)
He said in these level I inspections, officers go beyond normal size and weight checks and moving violations like speeding, hazardous driving and cellphone use, for a complete assessment of driver compliance and equipment.
"We look at driver qualifications," he said. "We also look at the equipment to make sure it's safe, inspect brakes to make sure they are working properly, and the number of hours driving to insure there's no fatigue or sleepy driving."
Driver fatigue and proper brake system maintenance are consistently strong factors in serious vehicle-related violations and commercial truck and bus crashes, according to a press release from the state police.
Annual roadcheck operations are sponsored by the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance, though the commercial vehicle enforcement division receives no extra grants or funding for the effort, Larsen said.
According to the alliance, since inception of the roadcheck in 1988, roadside inspections conducted during the policing effort have numbered more than 1 million, resulting in more than 220 lives saved and 4,045 injuries avoided.
In addition to roadcheck, the division usually conducts one unannounced one-day brake check earlier in the spring and one more later in the year that is announced, Larsen said.