Oregon, Pennsylvania conduct safety crackdowns

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Oregon and Pennsylvania recently ran multi-department crackdowns on highway safety. Oregon focused on truckers, Pennsylvania on aggressive driving.

Oregon State Police helped lead Operation Trucker Check XII, held April 10-12 at the southbound Woodburn port of entry on Interstate 5. According to preliminary statistics released by the state police, 505 inspections resulted in 54 vehicles (11 percent of trucks inspected) and 85 drivers (17 percent of drivers inspected) placed out of service for safety violations.

The driver violations included excessive hours, logbook deficiencies and driver disqualifications. Inspectors also summoned medical aid for one driver who was severely hypoglycemic, meaning he had abnormally low blood sugar.

Officers and inspectors also issued 35 citations and 439 warnings, and arrested three drivers for methamphetamine. The operation also targeted substance abuse through voluntary collection of urine samples, but testing results may not be available for several weeks.

In Pennsylvania, local and state police made 20,439 citations and driver arrests during the first wave of a statewide crackdown on aggressive driving. About 150 municipal police departments and 16 state troopers carried out the Smooth Operator program March 25-31; Smooth Operator enforcement is scheduled again for July 1-7, Aug. 5-11 and Sept. 2-15.

Police cited 16,223 of those drivers for aggressive driving behaviors, including speeding, tailgating, running red lights or stop signs, and unsafe lane changes. Another 886 citations were issued for failure to wear a seatbelt, and 2,988 for other traffic violations; 342 people were arrested.

Roads were targeted based on statistics that indicated a high frequency of aggressive driving crashes. The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation is investing $2 million in the Smooth Operator program to tackle aggressive driving, which it says is the leading cause of highway fatalities.