Officers can inspect commercial vehicles

Published 11:12 pm Thursday, February 25, 2010

A trio of local law enforcement officers has earned certification that will allow them to inspect commercial vehicles, including trucks and buses, for equipment or safety violations.

Sgt. Darrell Bone of the Chilton County Sheriff’s Office and Jason Harris and Cpl. Mike Hegwood from the Clanton Police Department earned the certification.

“They say it’s one of the hardest courses in law enforcement,” said Clanton Police Chief Brian Stilwell.

With the certification, the men can check equipment like tires, lights and brakes as well as make sure drivers are compliant with weight and driving time regulations.

The officers will be able to cite drivers for not properly secured cargo, faulty exhaust systems, missing mirrors, unkept log books and more.

Stilwell said the certification will ultimately make Clanton streets safer, by making sure drivers are following all the guidelines they should be.

He said a few truckers choose to travel city streets and county roads to avoid federal highways — and troopers who have the ability to inspect commercial vehicles.

“They will avoid federal roads and instead come back roads, making our streets unsafe,” Stilwell said.

Sheriff Kevin Davis said the departments aren’t trying to unfairly target truckers, but they want to make sure country roads are as safe as possible.

“Our whole goal is safety,” Davis said.

The sheriff said the right to inspect commercial vehicles should also cut down on wear and tear on the roads.

“We have a major problem with county roads. We hope this helps stop the destruction of some of our roads,” Davis said.

The three officers who completed the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration Course had to complete 32 training inspections. They will also have to earn annual recertification.

Davis and Stilwell said other officers in their departments will take the class in the future.