THP Declares 24-Hour Multi-Agency HazMat Check a Success

Tuesday, May 08, 2007 | 07:00pm

May 4, 2007

The Tennessee Highway Patrol and multiple partner agencies examined more than 1,500 trucks during Operation United S.T.O.P. (Strategic Transportation Observation & Prevention) on Thursday, May 3.  62 drivers and 66 trucks were placed out of service as a result of the first-ever 24- hour operation.

Governor Phil Bredesen said, “The cooperation of local, state and federal agencies at these checkpoints demonstrates a strong willingness to work together to ensure public safety on Tennessee’s interstates and highways.  Ensuring the safety of the motoring public is a high priority for Tennessee.”

“After personally observing the operation myself in Haywood County, I could not be more pleased with its success,” said Department of Safety Commissioner David Mitchell.  “We sent a strong message that Tennessee is monitoring individuals who may be transporting illegal or hazardous materials in support of criminal or terrorist activity.”

THP Colonel Mike Walker said, “The goal of Operation United S.T.O.P. is to be pro-active in deterring large truck violations and terrorist activity by conducting random truck inspections across the state.  We conducted eight simultaneous Homeland Security Hazardous Materials Checkpoints over a non-stop 24-hour period.”

In October 2006, a similar eight-hour operation in 17 sites across the state helped earn Tennessee national recognition for leadership from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration.

“We couldn’t carry out an operation of this scale without the help of our partners.  We’re thankful they’re as serious about this issue as we are,” said THP Captain Steve Binkley, who oversees commercial vehicle enforcement.  The multi-agency event included members of TEMA, TBI, TDOT, TDEC, the Tennessee National Guard, the federal Department of Homeland Security, FBI, ATF, TSA, Oak Ridge National Laboratory, RAD Health and several local police agencies.   Nuclear detection devices were utilized at several checkpoints to identify radio-active materials.   Three were found but determined to be legal shipments.

A total of 395 hazardous materials trucks were checked, as well as 466 moveable containers and 218 rental vehicles.  In all, 596 safety defects were found, 329 trucks were checked by bomb or drug dogs and 760 were checked for radiological contaminants.  The stops also resulted in three alcohol violations, one drug arrest, one arrest for no driver license and another arrest for a fraudulent use of an I.D.

The Tennessee Department of Safety ( is responsible for ensuring the safety and general welfare of the traveling public.  The department’s general areas of responsibility include law enforcement, safety education and motorist services including the issuance of driver licenses.  The department and its highly trained staff of Troopers are responsible for safety on more than 15,000 miles of state and federal highways.

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