According to Mark Abrahamson, a 27-year veteran of the Wisconsin State Patrol states, “The following are driving behaviors or situations that “stood out” from the norm. Not every violation mentioned below necessarily results in a citation, but it will, at a minimum, be a reason for a traffic stop and a possible warning.”
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- Following too close
Reaction time for a driver is less than 2 seconds for driver to see, acknowledge, and act by steering or braking to avoid a crash. When trucks are following less than a truck length behind another. More distance is needed to just fulfill the perception and reaction time, and to meet most states’ following distance laws.
Speed is typically linked to following to close. If the driver “gave reason” for the traffic stop, it’s now an opportunity to review the driver’s credentials and the vehicle’s equipment.
- Lane deviations
Significant deviations raise concerns relating to the driver’s possible illness, fatigue, or impairment. Typically, once it’s observed that it was not simply a “push of the wind,” officers will initiate a traffic stop for deviation.
Observation of a truck that is approaching a lane closure or traffic stop at a high speed and the driver takes an aggressive crash avoidance action. These drivers are of high concern to be stopped for illness or fatigue. They demonstrate a threat to themselves or others.
- Improper load securement
When equipment is loaded on a flatbed, it’s clearly in plain view, and securement methods, number of devices, and general condition can be freely observed. Any observed deficiency will result in a traffic stop.
- Use of handheld phone
If this action is observed you will be pulled over. The concern relates back to attentiveness and the driver’s ability to respond quickly if crash avoidance is required.
- Lighting violations
Lighting violations would be avoided with a proper pre-trip and post-trip inspection. The frequent observation of lighting devices and replacement lenses/bulbs carried on the trucks would reduce chances of being pulled over.
- Improper registration or credential display
This is a reason to initiate a traffic stop. A CMV officer will at a minimum conduct a Level 3 inspection in this situation. As an officer is walking back and forth, he or she is taking a close look at the equipment, and if a violation is observed it will be upgraded to a Level 2 inspection.
With the increase of mainline high-speed virtual weigh-in-motion systems, the efficiency of this enforcement strategy has increased carrier contacts for violations. The system screens CMVs and highlights violators.
- Failure to obey official traffic signs or signals
Related to overweight violations is overlooking posted signs for weight limitations. Penalties will be implemented if postings are disregarded, misread or misjudged. Also, failing to follow a state’s lane restriction guidance such as “all trucks use right lane.”