Highway Patrol Cracks Down on Overweight Trucks

Posted August 14, 2007 1:50 p.m. EDT
Updated August 14, 2007 6:33 p.m. EDT

— The North Carolina Highway Patrol this week is conducting a weight-enforcement crackdown targeting commercial motor vehicles traveling through Orange County.

The three-day operation, which began Tuesday, is part of an effort by the North Carolina Department of Crime Control and Public Safety to enforce the state's laws and regulations pertaining to tractor-trailer trucks and other large vehicles.

According to the North Carolina Department of Transportation, trucks weighing more than 80,000 pounds cause an estimated $130 million in damages to state roads each year.

The goal of the crackdown is to reduce that estimate as well as reduce accidents involving them.

The state does have a weigh station on Interstate 40 in Hillsborough that inspects carriers, but Crime Control Secretary Bryan Beatty said some drivers avoid the checkpoints by traveling along secondary roads.

"So, that's why this operation, we're focusing on those trucks that appear to be intentionally avoiding the weigh station, because those are the ones that are more likely to be overweight and have safety violations," Beatty said.

One way state troopers are doing so is by taking the weigh station out on the secondary roads. They use portable scales that they place underneath each tire on a vehicle.

Veteran truckers said most drivers stay within the limit.

"The revenue you would make from hauling the extra weight is probably not worth the risk," said Earnest Woodruff with Smithfield Trucking. "So, most truckers are smart enough now to not try to take that risk. It's just not worth it."