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Controlling heavy traffic: This is how the police hunt down truck tricksters – News


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Too heavy, technical defects, tired drivers – one in three trucks that are checked in a heavy transport center gets stuck. The number of manipulations on the exhaust system has risen sharply. Thanks to new technology, the police are better able to track down fraudsters.

Uri heavy traffic center near Erstfeld. All trucks on the Gotthard axis have to stop here. There are 1,500 trucks every day, and the Uri police check 60 to 80 more closely.

A semi-trailer truck from Romania is directed to the checkpoint. A security assistant checks documents, lights, brakes. He has the chauffeur open the cargo area and inspects the load and the securing. “I’m being checked for the second time in a month, but it’s okay,” says the chauffeur – and is allowed to continue driving.

Suspicion: AdBlue manipulation

Not a Polish truck like that. The suspicion: manipulation of the AdBlue system. The truck rolls onto the test stand. A technical inspector connects a new scanner specially developed for heavy traffic centers to a socket under the passenger seat. This allows inspectors to penetrate deep into the vehicle software. A red light lights up on the tablet. «We see an anomaly in the AdBlue system here. The software of the engine control unit was probably manipulated,” says Patrick Zurfluh, head of technical control.

Less costs, more mess

AdBlue is a mixture of urea and water that is carried in an additional tank. It breaks down around 90 percent of the pollutants produced when burning diesel into harmless water vapor and nitrogen.

The picture shows a police officer from the Uri canton police standing in front of an Iveco truck.

Legend:

Every day around 1,500 trucks pass through the Uri heavy traffic center near Erstfeld.

KEYSTONE/Urs Flueeler

Trucks without an AdBlue system emit uncleaned exhaust gases. The transport companies save costs – around 2,000 francs per truck per year – and can avoid emissions standards and LSVA fees.

The trucks with manipulated AdBlue systems almost all come from abroad. Last year the inspectors in Erstfeld also caught a Swiss truck for the first time.

Sharp increase in AdBlue cases

Across Switzerland, 132 manipulations of the exhaust system were discovered last year, mostly AdBlue fraud. That is 71.4 percent more than in 2022.

For the Federal Roads Office Astra, the increase can be seen primarily as a success of the new scanner. Even if there are only a few cases in absolute terms, the controls are important. “For environmental and safety reasons, but also to prevent market distortions,” said Jérôme Jacky, Astra media spokesman. “We assume that the random samples will also have a deterrent effect.”

A blatant case

A second software test confirms the AdBlue manipulation on the Polish truck. When checking the brakes and walking around and under the vehicle with a flashlight, a lot more came to light: six defective brake discs, four broken shock absorbers, insufficient braking effect. Plus the AdBlue manipulation.

“This vehicle has significant technical defects and is now being decommissioned by the police. It must be repaired on site and may only continue driving when operational safety and regulations are met again,” explains Stefan Simmen, head of the Uri heavy traffic center. The chauffeur also has to pay a fine of around 5,000 francs.

According to the police, this truck is a blatant, not an everyday case. But it’s one of many trucks that don’t drive correctly on Swiss roads.

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