April 21, 2014

Purchase, use of portable truck scales would be a win-win for Gardner

Paul Shnorenberg
Gardner

I read with interest your article on Police Officer Huff and his training concerning the inspection of trucks that pass through Gardner. I also read with interest the article in the “Our View” section concerning the purchase of portable scales for the police department. I believe it is time for the city leaders to rectify their mistake on the de-annexation of the Intermodal and proceed with a positive approach toward the inspection and weight enforcement of trucks that pass through Gardner.

Having knowledge of the enforcement of the laws concerning truck weighs, I must say that it is a win-win process for Gardner and her citizens.
It will ensure that trucks (concrete mixers, sheet rock delivery trucks, dump, construction, and pickups with trailers, etc.), are being operated legally and that the motoring public is safe.

Aggressive enforcement will lead to self compliance and safe roadways.
Numerous cities in Johnson County have traffic enforcement officers who specialize in enforcing traffic laws—including truck weights. In the 1990’s, one city’s ordinance specified that the fines for overweight vehicles/trucks started at $50.00 for the first 1,000 pounds and $0.10 per pound over that first 1,000 pounds. I remember one  case with a single axel dump truck. Police stopped it because it did not display a license tag. The total weight of the vehicle was 80,000 pounds. The first violation was 80,000 pounds overweight because the truck wasn’t licensed. Other violations would be overweight on the front axle, over weight on the rear axle, and over weight on the bridge length. As you can see, the fines are significant. The city prosecutors usually made some type of plea agreement with the drivers or owners;  however, there was a very substantial fine.

The scales used were the portable type. They were carried in the trunk of a patrol car and could be handled by one officer.  A police officer with a set of portable scales could ensure that trucks would
not bypass the scale house on I-35 by traveling on 199th St., 175th St., or Old 56 Hwy.

Perhaps a federal grant could be obtained to assist with the initial purchase of this equipment and the training of personnel.
In conclusion, I would like to see the city continue with the truck inspection program and quickly implement a program to routinely weigh trucks that are using the streets of Gardner.

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