Harris County cracking down on commercial truck after deadly crashes: 'Fix your trucks'

ByDerrick Lewis KTRK logo
Wednesday, August 17, 2022
ABC13 rides along with truck inspectors in wake of recent fatalities
What do deputies look for to ensure heavy trucks are safe? Eyewitness News rides along to find out.

HARRIS COUNTY, Texas (KTRK) -- Harris County deputies randomly pulled over commercial trucks for inspections on Tuesday. And while ABC13's cameras were rolling, deputies discovered 16 violations with one truck and driver.

Deputy Maurice Bucklin stopped a truck with very few markings just off Highway 249.

"It's usually not a commercial vehicle but because of the statue, the way that the vehicle looked, I figured it was going to be heavy. So I stopped the vehicle and pulled it into this parking lot," Bucklin said.

SEE ALSO: Houston business accused of faking 18-wheeler safety inspections

The truck met the weight requirement for an inspection. But Bucklin found 14 violations on the truck, including bad tires.

"He had a tire that's bald and two tread grooves on the front," said Bucklin. "He had an exhaust leak and it was damaged inside the vehicle to allow those fumes to get into the cab while he was driving."

The driver received two violations, one of them for not having a commercial driver's license.

"This vehicle cannot operate safely if the driver is not qualified to operate it," Bucklin said. "He can cause a crash that can injure or kill anybody that's on the roadways."

The team is made up of about nine deputies, with each one of them conducting five to six inspections a day. The department has done less than 1,800 inspections so far in 2022. From those inspections, they found nearly 12,000 violations.

ABC13 asked the sheriff's office how bad the problem is in Harris County.

SEE ALSO: Man killed when 18-wheeler's 2 loose tires hit 2 vehicles on I-45 near Louetta, sheriff says

"I hate to say it, but a lot of vehicles in the area are that way," Sgt. Dennis Castanie said.

So far this year, the department has put 855 vehicles out of service, along with 282 drivers. Those drivers and vehicles are not allowed on the street until the violations are corrected.

"We're hoping that we pull over clean trucks and get them back on the road," Castanie said. "That way they can keep rolling."

But, that doesn't happen often enough for the department.

"Fix your trucks," Bucklin said. "It's a lot better for you to find the issues and for you to fix it, before we find you on the side of the road."

Although they can't catch all of the trucks, Bucklin said they do believe they are making an impact.

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