Knowledge is power. When it comes to Illinois truck law, the more one knows and understands, the more power they have. With volumes of Illinois laws and regulations, coupled with even more federal laws and regulations, it is hard to stay on top of all the changes. The Illinois Truck Enforcement Association has worked hard to provide the knowledge to more than two-dozen local police officers this past week.
The ITEA hosted a week of basic truck enforcement from September 11th through the 15th. During this 40-hour class, police officers were instructed by many veteran officers who instructed them on enforcement of commercial vehicles. The students spent their mornings in the classroom learning from as many as five different instructors throughout the week.
The afternoon portions of the class were spent receiving a hands-on education at a local state scale. During this block on instruction, even more veteran truck officers come out to help the students learn the basics of weight, dimensions, driver’s licenses and registration enforcement. The volume of trucks which came through the scale during this portion of the class is like no other truck enforcement class in Illinois.
Twenty-four police officers from across the state took the pledge to up truck enforcement accountability. These officers are the next generation of improved community relations between the police and the public they serve. As more officers are trained by the ITEA to ethically conduct truck enforcement, Illinois will benefit greatly.
A hot topic across the nation is police-public relations. The ITEA teaches future truck officers that it is not about creating revenue or making it hard for a business to make a profit, but instead about keeping roads safe. These officers are shown how to fairly interpret the laws and educate drivers on how to better stay safe.
These officers were taught discretion and sound decision making skills. Not every driver of every truck which breaks the law is a lawbreaker. Most are hardworking people who made a mistake. These drivers may have to be written citations for their mistakes, but ITEA truck officers will explain why they received the violation and how to correct it in the future.
During the afternoon hours of the ITEA class, the students watched truck after truck roll over a state scale. Many of the drivers showed they supported our efforts by adding their own enforcement experiences to help these officers understand what they see. Most police officers do not have a background in trucking, so learning on the job is the only (and best way) to learn about industry particulars. The classroom has so many limitations.
The students in the class built a network to continue their learning. They have a new peer group to support their efforts. The ITEA is the graduation resource available to answer questions throughout their career as a truck enforcement officer. This cooperative effort is being undertaken throughout Illinois to ensure trucking companies are being treated uniformly.
The ITEA will always be at the forefront of Illinois truck enforcement for both police and industry. If the police are writing tickets to second division vehicles, the ITEA will be there to help them understand the laws and enforce them properly. The real fun comes next month at the ITEA’s signature Advanced Truck Officer class. Police officers will be in the driver’s seat of a semi-truck to see what life is like when the flashing lights are in their rear-view mirrors!