INDIANAPOLIS — Indiana State Police issued 43 tickets and 40 warnings as part of a Trooper in a Truck enforcement effort to crack down on unsafe driving, especially around semi-trucks.
Police say they had planned on doing the blitz well before Sunday’s I-465 crash that killed a mother and her two children.
Indiana State Police partnered with the Indiana Motor Truck Association and Carter Express, a trucking company, for Monday’s blitz which lasted several hours Tuesday morning.
A trooper rode along with Carter Express truck driver Mark Baker on I-465 and I-70 to get a bird’s eye view of aggressive and distracted driving.
The most common violations were speeding, following too closely and unsafe lane movement.
"I have a family to get home to and so does everybody else, so I just try to keep that the main focus," said truck driver Mark Baker. "People think they're the best driver out there, everybody does. They're racing around and everybody else is just in the way.”
RTV6 rode along with Trooper Anthony Emery, who spotted a tanker full of gas tailgating the truck in front of him.
"He was following about 40 feet, and they have a 300 foot following distance requirement," said Emery. “We have a dangerous situation when we have a tanker carrying fuel. We have a potential for an explosion or a big fire.”
The tanker driver received a ticket for following too close, a warning for speeding, and another warning for not properly logging one of his breaks as required by federal regulations.
"He admitted he was distracted and wasn't paying attention to what was going on around him," said Emery.
Emery also wrote a ticket to a man who was driving 81 mph in a 55 mph zone, who claimed he was late for work.
"Now he's going to be really late," said Emery.
Emery also issued a warning to a driver who cut off a truck and told troopers she was lost.
Trooper Emery wrote the ticket next to a cross on the highway—a symbol of the lives lost too often on Indiana roadways.
"Unsafe driving can result in injuries and even deaths," said Emery. "If you're violating the law, you've got a good chance of us seeing it and taking action."
The trucking industry fulling supports the effort.
"I want regular drivers to know these trucks can't stop on a dime," said Barb Hunt, spokeswoman for the Indiana Motor Truck Association. "When they're moving commerce every day it's so you can have products you want and need. Be careful around trucks and be safe."
Indiana State Police plan to do similar blitzes in the future, and they've already received offers to donate trucks for their next enforcement effort.