AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREOregon Ducks football players get stuck on Disney ride during Rose Bowl eventAbout 2 million trucks a year pass through the Castaic inspection facility, also called the “scales,” and thousands of tickets written for safety violations account for millions in revenue. But Kappen said more truckers have trod a blocks-long city-street bypass off Interstate 5 in the four years since city engineers removed a sign prohibiting trucks weighing more than 15,000 pounds from doing so. Once the Cross-Valley Connector is complete, truckers will be able to leave the I-5 about 10 miles south of the scales and take the Antelope Valley Freeway to Golden Valley Road. Golden Valley and Newhall Ranch Road comprise the connector, and meet the I-5 just north of the scales, said Dwight McDonald, a commercial enforcement supervisor for the CHP Some truckers now find alternate though less direct routes, he added. CHP spokesman Humberto Jimenez said officers in McDonald’s unit are experts at enforcing laws aimed at commercial vehicles. Reasons for wanting to avoid inspections abound. Many drivers who exceed the number of consecutive hours they may drive scheme to avoid getting caught. “We check the log books … to prevent driver fatigue,” Kappen said. “Driver fatigue is a major cause of truck-involved collisions.” The majority of trucks inspected at the Castaic facility are on long-haul trips, he said. SANTA CLARITA – Northbound truckers, who face inspection by the CHP at its Castaic inspection station, will be able to bypass the stop when the city’s heralded Cross-Valley Connector is completed. The $245 million road will connect the Antelope Valley Freeway to Interstate 5 – allowing big-rig drivers to avoid inspection of their trucks and their log books, which detail mandated breaks. CHP inspectors weed out trucks with faulty brakes and drivers who need more shut-eye. But if the city fails to post signs prohibiting truckers from detouring off the freeway – and skirting the rules – it will cost money and could cost lives, a highway official said. “Our main function is to keep our highways safe,” said California Highway Patrol Sgt. Tim Kappen, a 27-year veteran of the agency. “Doing our part by inspecting these trucks has its impact on that.” Driver fatigue is hard to prove after a crash, so truckers often are cited for driving at unsafe speeds or making unsafe turns, said Officer Michelle Esposito. In the past couple of years, the two main causes of truck-involved collisions were speeding and unsafe lane changes. CHP records show trucks were involved in 456 collisions in the Santa Clarita area in 2005. In the 210 crashes where truck drivers were at fault, 41 involved injuries and one person was killed. This year, 135 crashes involved trucks. In the 60 cases where truck drivers were at fault, one person was killed and seven injured. For some, the penalty for driving too long justifies the risk of avoiding it. Truckers can be sidelined for 10 hours, fined $500 and ordered to face a judge. Other common violations include exceeding the maximum allowed weight, having faulty brakes, not being properly licensed or driving with a suspended license. Cargo cannot be stored at the Castaic facility, so drivers cited for overweight loads face the burdensome task of summoning other trucks to carry the excess weight. The consequences of driving with poorly maintained brakes can be more troublesome. “A car can stop faster than an 80,000-pound truck,” said McDonald.- Heavy or shifting loads that are not properly secured pose an added risk. cSD [email protected] (661) 257-5255160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!