COLORADO SPRINGS — Unfortunately, across southern Colorado over the years we've seen just how bad crashes can be when they involve big rigs. It's why Colorado State Patrol says it is going all-out making sure truckers are following the rules of the road in our state.
Personal injury lawyers across the country are sharing these startling statistics online, in the United States there are roughly 500,000 crashes involving big rigs every year, about 5,000 of those end up being deadly.
It's those kinds of dangers that are motivating the Colorado State Patrol to provide oversight on the trucks and truck drivers traveling across Colorado. The main focus is to make sure the big rigs are operating properly, are not oversized, and that drivers are licensed and not driving more hours than they should.
According to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration 10 to 20-percent of the deadly crashes involving commercial vehicles every year are impacted by driver fatigue.
At the port of entry weigh stations along I-25 members of Colorado State Patrol are able to do these thorough inspections, but in some cases truckers will try to bypass these inspections.
"In an area like Colorado Springs where we have a lot of construction happening all over the city, out east we do have a lot of trucks, a lot of oversized loads and a lot of heavy equipment. So we do have to be out there spot checking regularly," said Jeff Byers who works the I-25 Monument Port of Entry area for Colorado State Patrol.
State troopers are able to do those spot checks on highways and roads on the east side of Colorado Springs, using a mobile unit and caravan to set up these pop-up weigh stations. Troopers then flag down trucks traveling along roads and highways outside of the oversight set up along the interstate.
The law enforcement leaders given this assignment say it's startling to see what they are finding when they stop truckers on these back roads and highways.
"There are a handful of them that are trying to avoid us. They are trying to go around the ports because they are over their hours, they are over weight, they have safety issues, they may not even have a drivers license. We're constantly out here catching drivers who don't even have CDLs driving commercial vehicles," sait Christopher Louis-Kiger of Colorado State Patrol.
Having conversations with truckers on a daily basis, state patrol officials say truckers often complain about drivers who are driving too close, or cutting them off, even in bad weather conditions. Truckers ask that you give them space and remember it's a lot harder for them to stop quickly.
The pandemic has had a big impact on traffic and even the number of crashes with less people on the roads, but as vaccinations roll out and restrictions are lifted CSP is asking people to focus on safety because the dangers out here are real.