If drivers ever needed a reason to avoid the blind spot, Ada County cops provided a dramatic lesson last week. After a morning of checking commercial trucks just outside of Meridian, the Ada County Sheriff's Office found that 77 percent of the rigs were violating safety regulations or were otherwise out of compliance.

Of the 65 trucks checked, deputies put 50 of them out of service for not securing their loads, broken trailer brakes and inadequate breakaway devices. The worst part: officers consider this a normal level of violations.

"This is an indication of how widespread the problem is," said sheriff's office spokeswoman Andrea Dearden.

Officers arrested one driver with an outstanding warrant, cited one for Internal Revenue Service fuel violations, another for a suspended license and 24 trucks were overweight. Officers handed out 28 citations totaling $5,000.

Dearden likened the behavior of these professional drivers to that of the rest of us. "We all know the rules about speeding and tailgating. It doesn't mean we follow them," she said.

A representative of the Idaho Trucking Association declined comment because she had not heard about the operation.

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