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CHP on heavy patrol in Coachella Valley today

INDIO, Calif. -

Commercial drivers passing through the Coachella Valley today should be aware that California Highway Patrol officers are looking for scofflaws.

Officers from the Indio and El Centro CHP offices and the Desert Hills Commercial Vehicle Enforcement Facility will look for commercial drivers violating traffic laws on Interstate 10 and state Route 86, watching for speeding, tailgating and not using "hands free" cell phone technology.

Officers will also inspect vehicles for mechanical problems, CHP Officer Joe Zagorski said.

"These trucks, due to their huge size, typically result in fatalities and injuries ... and it shuts down freeways for hours," Zagorski said. "This is a more proactive measure."

Commercial vehicles are required to stay to the right unless passing and are prohibited from going faster than 55 mph.

Big 18-wheelers average about 76,000 pounds, "and every mile over the speed limits places people in even greater danger," Zagorski said.

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