Minn. State Patrol Cracks Down on Commercial Vehicle Safety

Updated: 10/22/2013 6:50 PM KSTP.com By: Josh Rosenthal

Minnesota state troopers inspected dozens of commercial trucks Tuesday in Blaine. The inspections were part of a nationwide effort to increase commercial vehicle awareness and safety.

Mike Stahl is one of the drivers whose truck was pulled over and inspected. Troopers say they spotted him driving without a seat belt. "Don't know what they're going to find or what they need to find, but hopefully it's not going to be too painful." he laughed.

Why all of the inspections? Troopers say it's for your safety.

There were nearly 4,000 commercial vehicle crashes last year in Minnesota. Nearly 1,200 resulted in injury, and 56 resulted in death.

State Patrol Sgt. Tom Smith summed it up, "the point is to get unsafe trucks off the road."

Many of the trucks passed their inspection.

Sometimes drivers were cited for minor violations or given warnings. The worst case scenario for the drivers is their truck is deemed "out of service." That means the drivers either have to get their trucks towed or they have to fix them on the spot.

That's what happened to Stahl. He ended up with 14 violations total. Many of them were relatively minor, but they were enough to keep him off the road for a few hours.

"Then I'm gonna hit the road," Stahl explained as his mechanic worked on his truck. "Go and make some money and do my thing."

The Minnesota State Patrol typically inspects commercial vehicles two to three times a week in different locations around the metro. The sites are picked either because of the area's crash-rate or because a local law enforcement agency requests it.