ISP emphasizes semi inspections to lower number of crashes on I- - WSIL-TV 3 Southern Illinois

ISP emphasizes semi inspections to lower number of crashes on I-57

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WILLIAMSON CO. -- Illinois State Police are raising their efforts to stop the recent string of wrecks on Interstate 57 by going after commercial vehicles.

That campaign kicked off Wednesday, and includes more inspections and traffic enforcement. Troopers say since semis make up the biggest vehicles on the roads, they have the potential to cause a lot of damage. 

They describe the issues on I-57 as complex, and this initiative makes up just one approach to lower the amount of crashes. Troopers want to make sure semi drivers don't drive too many hours and keep their trucks in good shape for the roads. 

Illinois State Trooper Joey Watson says we'll see a lot more traffic stops with semis. Federal money will help District 13 hire troopers to focus solely on semis along I-57.

News 3 rode along with Trooper Watson to find out what police look for and how this kind of enforcement affects our safety.

We watched as he preformed a level 3 inspection on a semi just south of Marion. 

"It's making sure that the driver is not fatigued. It's making sure that all their paperwork is in order, making sure they've been checked over by a doctor and are fit to drive," said Trooper Watson. 

He found a driver who hadn't logged his hours correctly, an issue that could lead to big problems down the road. And with enough problems along I-57, troopers want to make sure everyone knows troopers will stay out in full force making sure we all drive safely.

But he wants to make clear, they won't just look at truck drivers.

"They are one of the components of this issue. Don't get confused and think, 'Oh, it's a semi problem or, 'Oh, it's a car problem.' It is people making bad choices," said Trooper Watson. 

Trooper Watson says officers have no magic trick or formula to eliminate wrecks all together, but if we all do our part by driving defensively and following the rules, we can cut back on the number of crashes.

"I think this is going to be one of those things where you'll look back in retrospect and say, 'Obviously, what we did worked,'" said Trooper Watson. 

Trooper Watson also encourages everyone to have a conversation about driving safety with their friends or family, because getting in our cars is the most dangerous thing we do on a daily basis.

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