Troopers Become Truckers In Undercover Operation

ISP Hopes Effort Will Curb Fatal Wrecks Involving Cars, Tractor-Trailers

Undercover Indiana state troopers are watching drivers from an unsuspecting seat -- one in the cab of a tractor-trailer -- in hopes of curbing wrecks involving big trucks and cars.

Indiana State Police said 56 percent of all wrecks that involve a tractor-trailer and a passenger car or truck are caused by the driver of the car, 6News' Ericka Flye reported.

Truckers contend that cars on interstates are constantly cutting them off, riding in their blind spots and are simply careless.

There are frequent contentious battles on highways between trucks and smaller vehicles, with the drivers of cars using their quicker maneuverability to squeeze between, in front of and immediately behind tractor-trailers.

Undercover troopers are specifically targeting aggressive car drivers, but they will also be looking out for truckers who aren't driving safely.

"People commit violations when they know police aren't around," said ISP Sgt. Wayne Flick.

The trooper in the tractor-trailer will radio ahead to another trooper, who will pull over the violator.

Weekly, sometimes daily, there are wrecks on Indiana's highways involving big trucks and cars. Police said if they can save any lives, the effort will have been worth it.

"You always see these accidents with semis, and people, their first thought is the semi's at fault, and that's not always the case," Flick said.

Truckers said they often see impending wrecks several seconds before they are about to happen, but are virtually powerless to stop them.

"When we get leeway room, they think that's room for them to get in between," said trucker Michael Chester. "If you do that and you have to slam on your brakes, now we're right on top of you."

"(They) put you in a situation to where you have to stop, and you can't stop," said trucker Gregg Dempsey. "Momentum will not let you stop."

Dempsey has been involved in a fatal wreck.

"I had two individuals run through a stop sign, and I was unable to stop," he said. "It killed them both."

At 55 mph, it can take the length of two and a half football fields to bring a fully-loaded big rig to a full stop.