Yes, Florida Highway Patrol Really Uses Stealthy Semi-Trucks for Traffic Stops
They're hiding in plain sight, and they're more likely to spot you first.
Sometime in the last couple of weeks, you may have seen photos being passed around social media that claim to show a semi-truck belonging to the Tennessee Highway Patrol making a traffic stop. As with most things on the internet, though, the pictures only tell half the story. While THP does indeed use a semi to patrol trucking corridors, it never uses said truck to make traffic stops; it's their comrades at the Florida Highway Patrol that do, using a fleet of three such trucks to snitch on bad drivers or even pull them over themselves.
The FHP first dressed a semi in its colors back in 2014, when it repurposed a Florida Department of Transportation truck as a sort of traffic overwatch vehicle according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel. Like the THP's truck, it started out being used to radio driving violations—texting, open containers, aggressive driving—down the road to waiting troopers, who would conduct traffic stops in normal cruisers. While you'd think a tractor-trailer in a State Patrol livery would be the most conspicuous vehicle on the road, the Troopers who operate it report it's anything but.
"Believe it or not, people will pass this truck, although it is marked as one of our units," said Sergeant Christopher Galante to the Sun-Sentinel. "It is amazing what people do around [tractor-trailers]."
"Most people pay no mind because this type of vehicle is the last thing someone is thinking about," added Trooper Steve Monteiro, to Click Orlando.
For one reason or another, the FHP at some point authorized its trucking troopers to skip calling in help down the road, and instead initiate stops on their own. According to FHP Lieutenant Derrick Rahming Sr., however, it's something they rarely do.
"FHP's Office of Commercial Vehicle Enforcement has three marked semi-trucks. The semi-trucks are used in various capacities, including traffic enforcement details," Lieutenant Rahming told CDL Life. "These semi-trucks are properly equipped to initiate a traffic stop; however, they are used primarily for spotting."
Lieutenant Rahming added that the trucks are often used to pull "No-Zone" trailers that educate drivers on the dangers of inattentive driving around semis. With southern Florida being a hotspot for commercial vehicle activity, and thus crashes involving them, it's important Florida drivers stay cognizant of how ugly semi crashes can get.
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