EAU CLAIRE, Wis. (WEAU) -- A big push for truck driver safety is kicking off this weekend.
The Wisconsin State Patrol cites Eau Claire County as among the most dangerous when it comes to commercial vehicle safety.
Other counties include Chippewa, Trempealeau, Clark and Jackson.
To reduce large truck crashes a federal grant will help the Wisconsin State Patrol increase their enforcement of commercial motor vehicle safety.
Lt. Adrian Logan with the Eau Claire post says the focus will be on the safety of trucks transporting frac sand in 12 counties in central and northwest Wisconsin.
“We do have a large amount of frac sand and we do have a large amount of commercial motor vehicle traffic and that's one of the areas we want to focus on in dealing with the oversized loads that can be part of the frac sand industry,” explained Logan.
The nearly $400,000 grant will increase enforcement around Eau Claire County targeting highways with extensive commercial motor vehicle traffic.
“We're going to use our airplanes to assist with speeding patrols so mainly most of it goes towards the staffing,” added Logan.
As part of its motor vehicle safety initiatives, the state patrol will participate in Operation Safe Driver starting October 16th and running until the 22nd.
The goal is to improve the behavior, habits and decision-making of commercial motor vehicle drivers and all other motorists on the road.
“We're going to be out in full force and we're going to be looking for all types of infractions,” said Logan. “So, that could be seatbelts, cell phone use with the new law not being able to use a cell phone when you're in a construction zone, just the general things we do on a day to day basis but we'll have extra people to be able to look for those infractions.”
During last year's Operation Safe Driver state patrol says a total of 198 vehicles and 83 drivers were placed out of service until more than 3,000 safety violations were corrected.
“We're not out there to harass anybody but anybody that drives on the interstate we're concerned about their safety,” explained Logan. “We want to make sure the large commercial vehicles are operating in a safe manner and that there's no equipment infractions because of the size of the vehicle and the loads they carry when they do crash can create havoc out on the interstate.”
Operation safe driver will begin on Sunday and run until next Saturday.
Extra state patrol officers will be on the lookout for any poor driving behavior.