GOSHEN — About 100 motorists were ticketed on Indiana highways Wednesday morning as part of an expanded program where state police troopers used tractor-trailers as mobile lookouts for unsafe driving around commercial trucks.

An Indiana State Police sergeant describes the statewide Trooper in a Truck enforcement program that was conducted on highways throughout Indiana on Wednesday morning

The Indiana State Police led its Trooper in a Truck initiative for about three hours, 9 a.m.–noon, covering a local loop of the Indiana Toll Road, and on highways near Chicago, around Indianapolis and near Louisville. The goal was to spot incidents of aggressive or distracted driving around big trucks.

During the program, troopers rode with tractor-trailer drivers in their trucks and acted as spotters for violations. The troopers then radioed other troopers stationed at zones along the routes, and they would then conduct traffic stops.

“Our goal is to catch those drivers that do drive aggressively and distracted around commercial motor vehicles,” ISP Sgt. Ted Bohner said while speaking at the Toll Road post along C.R. 17. “We’ve all been there, and we’ve seen typically when a crash between a passenger car and a commercial motor vehicle, like a semi, has tragic results.”

The event also specifically targeted motorists using mobile devices while driving, enforcing the state’s hands-free law that took effect in July 2020. Troopers also kept an eye out for seat belt violators.

The local patrol covered about 25 miles of the Toll Road between about Bristol and South Bend. From that run, troopers issued 19 tickets and 37 warnings, which included eight hands-free law violations, eight seat belt violations, 28 speeding tickets and 12 other violations, according to data provided by Bohner.

For the program statewide, according to state police data, 101 tickets and 131 warnings were issued. Of those, 16 tickets and 26 warnings were for using mobile devices, and 20 tickets were issued for seat belt violations. Commercial truck drivers accounted for 31 of the total ticket amount, the data shows.

The program also provides the state police an opportunity to watch motorists from a certain vantage point, according to Bohner.

“This gives us a chance to see what happens when they don’t know when we’re around,” Bohner said.

The state police has conducted the Trooper in a Truck initiative for a few years, primarily around Indianapolis. This was the first year the effort was done simultaneously across the state, according to a news release.

Aimee Ambrose can be reached at aimee.ambrose@goshennews.com or 574-533-2151, ext. 240316. Follow her on Twitter at @aambrose_TGN.

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