The Nebraska State Patrol with assistance from the Sarpy County Sheriff’s Department and the Bellevue Police Department conducted surprise commercial vehicle inspections Wednesday in Sarpy County.
The inspections targeted commercial vehicles that might not travel outside the city or pass through weigh stations as part of their regular routes.
Jason Johnson, driving through from Minnesota for Mill City Tech, wasn't sure what was happening. “It's surprising.” It couldn't have come at a worse time. “I'm on my way to Omaha right now. I've got to be back in Nebraska City here in an hour-and-a-half.”
Each inspection took about 30 to 45 minutes, a setback the State Patrol said is necessary for safety on the road. Trucks pulled in and got weighed. Next they checked over driver qualifications and vehicle defects. One of the most important things looked at were the brakes. Trucks this big don't stop so easily.
“If you end up having a vehicle like that with broken equipment or no brakes, the stopping distance isn't going to be there so that's our hope is to try to reduce the accident rate," said the Nebraska State Patrol's Dan Doggett.
During the enforcement effort, the Metropolitan Aggressive and Prevention Selective (MAPS) Teams conducted 82 inspections, discovered 372 violations and took 37 vehicles out of service until they can be repaired. No drivers were taken out of service. Officers issued a total of $8,900 in fines.
Troopers found a few problems for Jeff Kellogg, who drives for ESI, though not big enough to keep him. “I'm glad they did. I'm very glad they did. They caught this earlier, it could have been worse. It could have been much worse.”