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Fewer Overweight Trucks Make Safer Roads, Troopers Say

Posted December 12, 2007

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— Shattered records show that the state Highway Patrol has been doing its job to keep the roads safer by keeping overweight trucks off them.

In 2007, the force has already broken its all-time record for the number of pounds removed from the roads in a single year. Through early November, the tally was at 200 million pounds and still ticking the scales upward.

Independent trucker Greg Heard explained that overweight trucks place stress both on roads and on drivers.

"I don't like to pull heavy stuff," Heard said. "It's hard on the equipment, it burns more fuel, and if someone blows up right in front you, you can't stop. You're going to hit them."

State trooper R.C. Pugh said he has been playing a cat-and-mouse game, finding and stopping overweight trucks for eight years. He said the rise in heavy loads coincided with the increase in diesel fuel prices.

"It encourages the driver to put as much load on the truck as he can to get every bit of his money for that trip," Pugh said.

Rick Cates, the North Carolina Trucking Association's director of safety and security, said many of the violators are out-of-state truckers.

"A lot of that's coming through the state. Some people are not just educated on the pounds coming through the state of North Carolina," Cates said. "That doesn't necessarily say that's a North Carolina carrier."

The Highway Patrol credited the integration of Department of Motor Vehicle enforcement officers and troopers that began in 2003. Operation Road Watch, which began in January, has also contributed to the record number of overweight pounds, Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Everett Clendenin said.

"We had to get people trained. We had to get people up to speed, and the enforcement was not where we wanted it to be," Clendenin said. "Since '03, it's significantly increased to this record pace that we're on this year.

The more overweight trucks pulled, the safer the roads, Clendenin said. Troopers said that a truck that plowed into Peggy's Restaurant in Harnett County in 2004, killing one person, was overweight.

"If you look at big-truck fatalities, you can see there's a national trend that they've decreased over the years, so, hopefully, we're helping contribute to that," Clendenin said.

8 Comments

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  • 1_at_Risk Dec 14, 2007

    The citations are issued to the registered owner of the truck. But once the citation is issued the truck is allowed to proceed on its way. The revenue is generated but the over weight truck is not removed from the road.

  • beachboater Dec 13, 2007

    Define "Over weight". Does this mean over the federally set limit of 80 Tons

    Actually, it's 80,000 pounds.

  • bosoxbaby Dec 13, 2007

    Amen Pete!!! My dad, 9 uncles, 1 aunt and 2 cousins all drive/drove trucks. It really is all about the money!!! Why else would there even be a special permit with a special fee for an oversized load if that isn't the case??

    And some of the burden should be on the company that loaded them too!!!

  • skypilot-not Dec 13, 2007

    Really ???

  • pete Dec 13, 2007

    safty ha , it's all about the money!! anyone whom owns a truck know how over regulated and over taxed a trucker can be. we are also out there , we see how speeding and agressive driving from the normal (commuter) are overlooked just waiting for the opertunity to stop a truck.

  • Travised Dec 13, 2007

    Some states out west (colorado, new mexico, arizona that area) patrolled roads with rolling scales if you were taking a route common to some drivers, but not say the interstate. Thats a common technique when stations give you loads that are overweighed. If you are working for a company you can either take the load or refuse the entire load (the latter does not look good on your behalf). So you take the load and drive roads that don't have weigh stations and tend not to have rolling scales on them.

    To answer the basic question,YES they will over weigh loads, and it is the driver's duty to make sure he is within weight limits. So the pickup location doesn't care that it is over max. They are not at fault.

    Every now and then you'll have a special permit load (oversized, grossly overweight) that goes through. Those NEED special permits. Such as the Ethanol dryer; or the TBM (tunnel boring machine) that were transported in my area.

  • CoCo Dec 13, 2007

    I wish they would focus on the fact that Mr. President just slid a little bill in that will allow unregistered Mexican trucks on our highways....

  • bottleworks Dec 13, 2007

    Define "Over weight". Does this mean over the federally set limit of 80 Tons (IIRC), or just not enough weight paid on the registration?
    .
    I have a feeling it's more about not having enough weight paid for on the registration, which does not make anything safer. Just simply about getting more tax money.

    If it's the first...Then good for them.