TRENTON – A bill sponsored by Senators Ellen Karcher and Nicholas P. Scutari which would allow municipalities to increase fines on trucks that deviate from established truck routes and travel more dangerous shortcuts was approved by the Senate yesterday by a vote of 37-0.
“A successful trucking industry relies on the proper infrastructure to allow trucks to operate safely,” said Senator Karcher, D-Monmouth and Mercer. “However, in some instances, truckers are cutting corners and using shortcuts that were neither designed to nor can handle traffic from large trucks, and the result is a higher incidence of traffic accidents, some of which can be fatal. We need to allow municipalities to apply strict penalties, to keep trucks on designated routes and away from unsafe roadways.”
The bill, S-2611, would allow municipalities to increase local fines on trucks that exceed four tons, when the trucks deviate from established safe truck routes. The bill would allow municipalities to impose penalties of between $2500 and $3000 for the first offense, up from the current $1000 fine they are allowed to impose. The bill would also require municipalities to post signs in appropriate locations to make truck drivers aware that they are traveling on unsafe routes, and that they would be subject to increased fines.
“New Jersey trucks haul over 260 million tons of freight a year on our roads, but the drivers cannot put public safety aside in order to make their deliveries,” said Senator Scutari, D-Union, Middlesex and Somerset. “New Jersey has an extensive highway system that can handle the workload. However, too often, truck drivers take their freight off the designated roads, and in doing so, they put the public in danger. This bill will implement more stringent penalties and hopefully deter truckers from making illegal detours.”
The bill now heads to the Governor to be signed into law.