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 unanimously approved by the Senate Transportation Committee today.
“The trucking industry is one that is constantly concerned with the bottom-line, but truckers cannot put public safety aside for a quicker, more cost-effective route,” said Senator Karcher, D-Monmouth and Mercer. “In municipalities that provide for safe, established truck routes, the intent is for trucks to abide by those routes, but some times, truckers will eschew common sense for the quicker, unsafe route. We need provisions in place to deter truck drivers from leaving the assigned route and endangering themselves and others.”
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.
“This legislation addresses a serious safety concern. New Jersey trucks haul over 260 million tons of freight a year on our roads,” said Senator Scutari, D-Union, Middlesex and Somerset. “We’re talking about a business where time is money, and there can be pressure to cut corners. By allowing municipalities to impose tougher financial penalties on the few drivers that deviate from designated truck routes, we can ensure that the cost of breaking the law outweighs the benefit.”
The bill now heads to the full Senate for consideration.