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N.C. Highway Patrol working to reduce accidents during busy travel time

READ MORE: N.C. Highway Patrol working to reduce accidents
With more cars expected on the road for Thanksgiving, the N.C. Highway Patrol and the Brunswick County Sheriff's Department are working to reduce accidents through random inspections on commercial trucks. Sergeant T.D. Wheeler of the N.C. Highway Patrol said, “There's nothing worse than 120,000 pounds driving down the road with a sleepy or fatigued driver.” Sergeant T.D. Wheeler noted that many truck accidents occur on Highways 17, 74, and 76. This week, the N.C. Highway Patrol will focus on these roads, pulling over trucks to make sure the drivers and vehicles meet federal standards. “We pull them over, we check their log books, we check the safety of their vehicle. If we find things we can place them out of service as much as 10 hours or until they fix their violations or come into compliance with their log books.” While truck drivers say the inspection is a bit of an inconvenience they don't seem to mind too much. Truck driver Eddy Long said, “I think they should be done on everybody's truck that drives an 18-wheeler on the highway.” Tony Caines, who also drives a truck, said, “We have a good attitude about it because they have a job to do just like we do. They're doing their part to try and make North Carolina roads safe.” If a truck is pulled over this week, it's subject to one of three levels of inspection. The first one is just a check of the driver's credentials. If the trooper finds something wrong, the entire truck is subject to inspection. Experienced drivers say this can take a while. Eddy Long said, “Sometimes I've seen it take an hour. It's all what your getting stopped for and what they're checking.” But Sergeant Wheeler said passenger cars are responsible for many accidents involving large trucks, so troopers will also have a close eye on aggressive driving this week. He advised, “Don't follow too close, don't change lanes directly in front of a truck, give it some space, and don't stay in their blind spots.” Troopers performed more than sixty inspections on Tuesday alone. Seventeen trucks and one driver were put out of service due to violations, and eighteen passenger cars were ticketed for aggressive driving.

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