Kentucky targets commercial motor vehicles with driver-focused cameras

September 13, 2022

SJ Munoz

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Kentucky authorities say the use of driver-focused cameras is an effort to limit distracted driving in commercial motor vehicles. Meanwhile, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said it is apprehensive about the practice.

The Laurel County Interstate 75 northbound weigh station is the first location equipped with the driver-focused cameras.

Installed by Perceptics, these driver-focused cameras are said to capture near real-time, high-resolution images of the vehicle, license plate, U.S. DOT and KYU numbers and inside of the cab. These images are then sent to the Kentucky Automated Truck Screening system for officers to identify if a vehicle inspection is needed, according to the Perceptics website.

The website also mentioned problems law enforcement officers encounter when having to use binoculars in order to observe a driver, which take their eyes off the road or computer accessing the vehicles information. They have no way to provide a driver with proof of an infraction, says the website.

As a result, the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet is planning to install additional driver-focused cameras at 13 other locations across the state.

When asked if additional cameras would focus on vehicles other than commercial vehicles, the agency told Land Line that, similar to the Laurel County, “the focus is on commercial motor vehicles.”

The Kentucky Transportation Cabinet also said, “Federal regulations specific to commercial motor vehicles were considered” before installation of the cameras.

OOIDA apprehensive

OOIDA Executive Vice President Lewie Pugh expressed the Association’s apprehension with the practice.

“We are always concerned when we hear of more surveillance on truckers in the name of safety,” Pugh said. “There are many more questions that need answered about whether these are well-meaning or just more intrusive efforts against truckers in Kentucky.”

According to the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet, a high-priority grant from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration was used to fund the installation of the driver-focused cameras.

“It would seem we could spend those dollars much more effectively in helping make the roads safer for the public than what some in-cab viewing camera will do,” Pugh said.

Results released by Perceptics say officers have issued 137 seat belt infractions as well as several infractions for illegal cellphone use and drivers not wearing required corrective lenses in the first six months of driver-focused camera use.

The number of commercial motor vehicle operators that comply with federal regulations will provide a gauge of success for the cameras, said the Kentucky Transportation Cabinet. LL

More Land Line coverage of Kentucky.

 

SJ Munoz joined the Land Line Media team in 2020. He brings a variety of skills to the job as he has experience as a reporter, photographer and in radio. He’s also written for Omaha Magazine, the Lawrence Journal-World, and PrepsKC.com.