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Stings Aimed at Commercial Drivers

The rash of bus accidents within New York has led to a crackdown on those with a commercial driver's license. While officials work to create new requirements for professional drivers, law enforcement is conducting stings to ensure that those who currently are operating these vehicles are properly licensed.

Much of the attention currently devoted to this issue has been concerned with whether or not the driver of the commercial vehicle is under the influence of drugs or alcohol at the time of the crash. U.S. Department of Transportation officials are considering new rules which would put zero-tolerance laws in place. They would also make it more difficult for organizations to receive permits to offer services to passengers.

Law enforcement is using these stings to make sure that those behind the wheel are eligible to be licensed drivers, and that equipment is in proper working condition. Taxis, buses and other commercial vehicles were stopped randomly at roadside inspections. Drivers had licenses checked, and their driving records were examined for outstanding violations. The vehicles also were inspected to determine if they were safe for transporting passengers. The stings removed 173 drivers from the road.

Several of the drivers were found to have had unresolved traffic tickets or unpaid fines, which led to aggravated unlicensed operation charges. Drivers commonly face these charges if they are driving while their license is suspended or revoked. Many of the drivers had multiple licenses, concealing the fact that a prior license may have been revoked.

Drivers obtain an additional license by giving an alias when they apply. This can cover-up past traffic violations which would have made them ineligible to be licensed. To help remove these drivers from the roads, the state has introduced face-recognition software that is now being used when drivers apply for a license. This alerts officials to the other licenses already on file, and may result in felony charges for these drivers.

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