ALBERTA
03/24/2014 12:16 EDT | Updated 05/24/2014 05:59 EDT

Highway 881 Safety: RCMP Crack Down On Big Rigs

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LAC LA BICHE, Alta. - A truck driver who had allegedly been drinking, had open liquor in the cab, no air-brake endorsement and no registration for his semi-trailer rig is one of several people ticketed in a recent RCMP crackdown on commercial and other vehicles in northern Alberta.

Police say the 61-year-old man was issued eight tickets after his truck was stopped on Highway 881 north of Lac La Biche.

His rig was one of 200 private and commercial vehicles pulled over during a checkstop and inspection that started Thursday and continued through the weekend.

"He's supposed to be a commercial vehicle and a professional driver, so clearly he's not, right?" RCMP Const. Chris Clark of the Lac La Biche detachment said Monday.

Mounties say about 85 per cent of the commercial vehicles stopped were deemed deficient. Drivers were told that repairs had to be made before they could hit the road again.

Inspectors came across a variety of problems that ranged from a flat tire to faulty signals or brake wiring, Clark said.

"It does put the public at risk and it does give you a little scare, but that's why we're out there," he said.

Clark said hitting drivers in the pocketbook with heavy fines is usually enough to make them change their habits.

"It could be $500 or $1,000 in fines that they'll end up acquiring ... so now it's costing them money, so we find usually it doesn't happen a second time."

The Lac La Biche detachment had 12 checkstops in 2013, but has plans for 27 this year to monitor the heavy flow of traffic to and from northern Alberta.

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