Laid off state motor carrier inspector calls cuts 'mistake'

42 inspectors cut in December 2009

INDIANAPOLIS - A laid off Indiana State Police motor carrier inspector is speaking out after a Call 6 Investigation exposed thousands of dangerous trucks on Indiana roadways.

Lora Rosencrans was one of 42 motor carrier inspectors cut loose in December 2009 due to state budget constraints.
           
“It was heartbreaking,” said Rosencrans, who worked for Indiana State Police for eight years.
           
Rosencrans said she enjoyed her job so much that she saved numerous mementos from her time with state police, including a patch, coin and a certificate from the United States Department of Transportation.
           
The layoffs saved the state $2.5 million, but Rosencrans said the cuts were a mistake.
           
“For public safety, it’s been pretty bad,” said Rosencrans. “Very big mistake, and I hope they can right the wrong.”
           
Rosencrans contacted Call 6 Investigator Kara Kenney after seeing Kenney's story about thousands of trucks in Indiana with mechanical issues like unsafe tires, defective turn signals, faulty brakes and unsecured loads.
           
“I was concerned,” said Rosencrans. “I know what I see even today on the roads, and I know what I saw when I worked on the roads.”
           
Right now, the state only has 72 troopers and inspectors dedicated to daily truck inspections, compared to 86 in 2008.

ISP spokesman Capt. Dave Bursten points out laid off inspectors were replaced with certified troopers who, unlike inspectors, can enforce criminal violations.
           
Rosencrans said as a result of budget cuts, she sees more truckers taking risks.
           
“I see bald tires, I see lights out,” said Rosencrans. “There’s nothing I can do about it, and it scares me to death knowing there’s people out there that just have no clue. I know what needs to be done, and I can’t do anything about it.”
           
State Rep. Dan Forestal, D-Indianapolis, is pushing to restore motor carrier inspector positions.
           
“I think that’s awesome, that’d be great,” said Rosencrans. “If they asked me, I probably would (take my job back).”
           
At a time when the state is in such financial shape to spend $38 million on pay raises, Rosencrans hopes the state will shift is financial focus to dangerous trucks.
          
“I see so much junk out there that needs to be stopped and taken off the road, but there’s not enough people to do it,” said Rosencrans. “They only saved $2.5 million by eliminating us, and then a year later they found $300 million sitting there, so I question that.”

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