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"We can now take a look at the equipment, and if everything is OK, get the freight moving," he said.
An officer controls the cameras and heat sensors using a joystick inside the van. A black and white television image glows white where the vehicles are hot. That should be on tires and brakes, said Officer Steve Erickson, who likened it to a big video game.
But the stakes are a bit higher.
When brakes show up dark on the monitor, that means they probably aren't working.
That's definitely bad.
On one particular occasion last week, some brakes on a produce truck appeared onscreen to be black as night.
"Just like that, another truck to be inspected," said Hopper after reviewing the image.
Trucks aren't taken out of service just because of a thermal eye image. They are physically inspected by an officer. But using the thermal eye van allows the officers to better determine which trucks to inspect.If a physical inspection turns up serious equipment violations, the trucks are taken off the road until repairs are made.