The Tennessee Highway Patrol Special Operations Unit rolled into Cleveland Wednesday morning and performed cursory inspections on Bradley County and Cleveland school buses. According to Lt. John Harmon of the THP, inspections went well with no problems found.
The inspection station was set up at Bradley Square Mall.
“Drivers pulled through our set-up and didn’t realize we had already looked at what we needed to,” Harmon explained.
Infrared technology helps specially trained troopers recognize overheated brake systems, measures the temperature of the vehicle’s tires and even detects exhaust leaks.
“It is awesome,” said Bradley County bus driver Alan Phillips, commenting on the THP Mobile Command Center and Commercial Vehicle Inspection unit used to check the city and county buses.
“We checked Sequatchie County’s buses last week and plan on being in Grundy County next week,” said Harmon.
This is not the first time the Command Center has been in Bradley County.
In 2013, troopers utilized the unit in the Chattanooga THP district to monitor drivers who were texting and to observe truckers who violate the driving laws of Tennessee.
Within literally seconds of entering Interstate 75 at Paul Huff Parkway, troopers observed a texting driver.
The driver was pulled over and ticketed by troopers who were on the special detail in the Chattanooga District.
Officials also coupled the “No Zone” 18-wheel rig with the initiative to curb bad driving behavior by truckers. Within just a few miles of travel along the interstate, troopers once again observed a trucker following too closely. He was ticketed for that as well as driver log violations.
“This year our goal is to cut traffic-related crashes and fatalities even more. Checking buses is one of our duties to keep our children safe,” Harmon said.
The Chattanooga District was recently awarded as being No. 1 in the state for achievement in reducing traffic-related crashes and for education for drivers regarding the dangers on Tennessee roadways.
Bradley County’s bus fleet manager Gary Austin was also at the site observing the bus checks.
“Bradley County is appreciative of this service. This goes along with our annual inspection of school buses. We want to keep our children as safe as possible,” Austin said.
The Wednesday initiative was strictly voluntary, according to Harmon.
Forty Bradley County buses and 10 city buses rolled through the infrared system that allowed troopers to make assessment.
“They were all good,” Harmon said.
“Our focus is to once again, in the Chattanooga District, be recognized as working hard to keep every driver and passenger safe through initiatives such as this, and education and crash reduction,” he added.