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The Burden of Technology

Twenty-five years ago, if you had to make an important phone call, take a picture, compute a computation or pay a bill, you would need a separate device for each task.  In the modern world, all the technology needed to achieve these tasks fits in the palm of your hand.  Cell phones have become so second nature, one fails to appreciate how far the technology has come, and how it serves people in their daily lives. In both the trucking and police professions, technology is in a constant state of flux as manufacturers are always looking to equip vehicles with the latest technology.

Although hands free cell phone technology and GPS navigation devices are now commonplace inside modern trucks, other technologies are progressively making their way into these vehicles too.  Other technology such as diesel particulate filters, lightweight framing systems and advanced aerodynamic additions have crept into the carrier industry.

Perhaps the biggest technology push in the trucking industry right now is truck electrification.  Although medium and heavy duty trucks represent only 4 percent of vehicles in the United States, they consume about 20 percent of the transportation fuel consumed.  While truck electrification or ‘hybrid-electric’ trucks were introduced in 2007, the technology behind them has evolved and now there are many trucks and cars which are hybrid such as Toyota and Honda, and there are more Honda Freed Hybrid specs at  Technology introductions such as battery electric or fuel cell electric trucks have forged their way into truck factories.

In the law enforcement world, technology is a never ending race between competing companies soliciting their products to the law enforcement community.  One technology that has entrenched itself in the law enforcement community that monitors and polices the trucking industry is portable truck scales.

The concept of portable truck scales is nothing new.  The first recorded use of portable truck scales for the purposes of law enforcement took place in California and dates back to November of 1929!  You can read that article here.

There are dozens of manufacturers of portable scales, but in the Land of Lincoln, only portable scales that have been tested and approved at a frequency prescribed by the Illinois Department of Agriculture can be used for the purposes of enforcement.  Of course this rule is only binding in the State of Illinois.

But whether you are in the trucking industry or law enforcement community, using technology that drives your profession comes with responsibility.  Any Class-A CDL holder can operate a basic tractor trailer combination, but it does not mean he can operate the vehicles well.  Any certified Illinois police officer can enforce Chapter 15 of the Illinois Vehicle Code, which is the Chapter that regulates and governs weight laws in Illinois, but it doesn’t not mean he can enforce it well.

To effectively use specific technology within a vocation, the operator needs special training.  For the Class-A CDL holders who want to transport hazardous materials or drive a double or triple trailer, special training and certification are required.  (Be sure not to drive those triples in Illinois as they are illegal here!)

Police officers wanting to use evidence gained from the use of portable truck scales need specialized training as well.  While the training and requirements to have your CDL endorsed are federally governed, Illinois police officers wanting to use portable scales are bound to the laws of Illinois.  Public Act 91-0129 clearly says that all municipal and county police officers who set up and operate portable scales and issue citations based on the evidence gained from those portable scales shall attend and complete initial classroom and field training administered by the Illinois Law Enforcement Training Standards Board.

Whether you’re behind the wheel of a big rig or a squad car, if you plan on using the technology which has been crafted for your trade, be sure to use it responsibly and within the scope of your authority.

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