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Truck drivers get surprise inspections at State Port

READ MORE: Truck drivers get surprise inspections at State Port

WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- It wasn't your average day on the job for truck drivers passing through the Port City. A top-secret operation involving more than five state and federal agencies helped put the brakes on drivers who were out of compliance with trucking regulations.

"Safety first, and that's what these guys here are trying to enforce," truck driver Stefan Think said.

About 1,500 trucks were greeted by more than 100 state and federal officials as they pulled into the port of Wilmington Tuesday.

"They have it every year, so I knew it was coming eventually," Think said. "Like I said it's good for them to do this."

This unannounced operation checks trucks and their drivers for criminal and terrorist activity, safety violations, haz-mat and driver violations.

"Most drivers do care about their vehicles and do stress safety, but the ones that don't, we intend to raise compliance through education," Maj. Mark Nichols of the North Carolina Highway Patrol said.

Highway Patrol heads up the operation and keeps an eye on the road by using a scanning machine to check the contents of each truck, a helicopter to make sure every truck enters the port and a mobile unit to supervise the operation.

"We're finding a lot of trucks with violations, and they are not able to move from their spot until the violations have been repaired and they're safe to be on the road again," Highway Patrol Sgt. T.D. Wheeler said.

Most truck drivers said the checkpoint took two hours out of their day to complete, but they admit that if they didn't go through the checkpoint they'd get stopped up the road. Troopers agree.

If a truck or truck driver is found out of compliance, troopers say they could face civil penalties and/or fines and would be taken out of service.

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