In response to an uptick in 18 wheeler crashes and hazmat spills, the California Highway Patrol (CHP) has announced that they’ll be adding a patrol to keep an eye on truckers on the Grapevine.
CHP says that they are bringing in specialist Officer Elena Demarah to patrol I-5 in search of semi trucks with brake, tire, or weight issues that could result in a crash as trucks head downhill on the Grapevine. Demarah will be operating a moving scales unit, according to Bakersfield Now.
Demarah will also be on the lookout for passenger vehicle drivers who could be driving in such a way that they increase the risk of a truck crash.
In addition to the new truck patrol, CHP also conducted a surprise inspection on the Grapevine on Wednesday, August 15. Nearly 1000 commercial vehicles entered the inspection area and two were placed out of service.
CHP says that they’ve been compelled to bring in the new patrol because truck crashes involving hazmat spills jumped by 66% from 2016 to 2017.
Not only are truck crashes difficult to clean up on the Grapevine, they can also turn deadly. Several trucks have been forced to use escape ramps in the past year, and in December of 2017, a truck driver and his passenger lost their lives on the Grapevine when their runaway truck entered an escape ramp at such a high rate of speed that the truck crashed into the side of the mountain.