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Florida does have semi-trucks in its patrol fleet. But there is only one such vehicle that can be used in patrol capacities, and it’s not disguised. Images of the truck posted on Facebook show that it has the agency’s logo on it.
Florida is a state where the strange can become ordinary, and the ordinary can become strange. Such is the case of tractor-trailers being used as patrol vehicles.
A Facebook post by Cracked.com, a website focused on humor, said that Florida Highway Patrol, or FHP, used multiple semitrucks to monitor and report traffic violations.
"Florida Highway Patrol has a semi-truck as a patrol vehicle and occasionally makes traffic stops," a May 17 Facebook post read. "The FHP uses a fleet of three such ‘hidden in plain sight’ trucks to snitch on bad drivers or even pull them over themselves."
The post was flagged as part of Facebook’s efforts to combat false news and misinformation on its News Feed. (Read more about our partnership with Facebook.)
We found that Cracked.com was mostly accurate in its characterization of FHP’s patrol fleet. But more context is needed.
The FHP does, in fact, have three semitrucks in its patrol fleet. The trucks are large, at around 53 feet long with 18 wheels, according to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.
The agency deploys both tractor-trailers (the truck and the portion being hauled) and the semitruck (the portion containing the engine) on the roads.
The semitrucks arrived on the scene in 2014 as part of an FHP campaign to inform drivers about the risk of "aggressive driving" around large vehicles. The vehicles have since been used for outreach and educational purposes.
FHP told PolitiFact that at least one of these semitrucks could be used to patrol highways for traffic violations, like speeding or tailgating, though the vehicles are not regularly used in such capacities.
"The Florida Highway Patrol does have a marked semitruck that has the capability of conducting a traffic stop," said Peter Bergstresser, a spokesperson for FHP.
However, contrary to the post's suggestion, the trucks are not "hidden in plain sight."
They are black and beige, like other patrol vehicles in Florida, and prominently bear the agency’s seal and name.
Facebook post, May 17, 2022
Facebook post, April 17, 2020
Facebook post, Oct. 9, 2020
Email interview with Peter Bergstresser, Florida Highway Patrol spokesperson, May 23, 2022
Chattanooga Times Free Press, Tennessee Highway Patrol using semi trucks to hunt down texters on the interstate, March 15, 2013
South Florida Sun Sentinel, Big rig is state troopers' latest safety tool, Dec. 16, 2014
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