An infrared detection system deployed in a mobile van correctly identified vehicles that need to be taken off the road 44 percent of the time; an improvement over using random selection alone.

Washington State's experience with its Thermal Eye Van for detecting thermal hotspots in Heavy Duty Vehicles and RV's

Date Posted

(Washington) Another eye on the road: WSP's high-tech patrol van detects unsafe trucks

Summary Information

In 2006, Washington's State Patrol purchased a $500,000 "thermal eye" van in order to use thermal imaging to better determine which commercial vehicles may have serious equipment violations. The van uses heat-sensitive equipment to examine tires and breaks to see if they are hot, meaning that they are probably functioning properly. The vehicle is being used primarily at weigh stations and on Interstate 90.


By using the thermal eye van, Washington State has been able to be more selective of which trucks they inspect for equipment violations, such as faulty breaks. This method results in follow up physical inspections removing trucks with serious equipment violations from the road 44 percent of the time. This is an increase over the truck removal rate when trucks are randomly selected. Overall, this results in increased freight mobility in Washington, cutting down on unnecessary physical inspections (which can take 30 minutes) saving time for the truck drivers.