HILLSBOROUGH, N.C. — The North Carolina Highway Patrol recently finished its three-day weight-enforcement crackdown against commercial motor vehicles traveling through Orange County.
It was 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.
The crackdown produced the following results:
- 115 trucks cited for weight violations
- 1,172,000 over-weight pounds
- $63,748 over-weight fines
- 135 commercial motor vehicles inspected by troopers
- 115 driver violations (36 removed from service)
- 150 truck violations (49 trucks removed from service)
- $8,425 out-of-service fines
Out-of-service violations are serious and result in the driver or the vehicle being placed out of service, according to Highway Patrol officials. The truck or driver will not be allowed to operate on the highway until all safety violations are corrected and fines are paid.
Trucks weighing more than 80,000 pounds cause an estimated $130 million in damages to state roads each year, according to the state Department of Transportation.
A weigh station on Interstate 40 in Hillsborough inspects carriers, but Crime Control Secretary Bryan Beatty said some drivers avoid the checkpoints on the interstates 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 did so was by taking the weigh station out on the secondary roads. They used portable scales and placed them 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."