Mobilizing the Region
Issue 274 June 19, 2000

First Tickets Issued Under NJ Truck Ban

After two weeks of enforcing the ban of 102"-wide, through-traveling, out-of-state bound trucks from local New Jersey roads, state troopers operating in Mercer, Hunterdon, and Somerset Counties passed out 67 tickets carrying fines of $400 each, reported the Trenton Times on June 8th. State police began implementing the ban on May 20th, just days after a Times article revealed that no violators had been charged since the New Jersey legislature added monetary penalties to the crime last January (MTR #270, 253).

John Hagerty, spokesperson for the state police, told the Times, that interstate truckers were ticketed on routes 29, 31, 206, and 202. Prior to the ban, these roads were commonly used by south-bound truckers who wanted to avoid paying tolls on the NJ Turnpike as a conduit between I-287/78 and interstates near and Philadelphia. Two other units of troopers bird-dog trucks in the rest of the state, but no information was made available on their activities. Hagerty told the Times that numbers on all units would from then on be available to the public every two weeks.

NJ DOT reported to the the Campaign in mid-December that, based on preliminary data, Route 31 in Hunterdon County had experienced a roughly 5% drop in total truck traffic over the then almost six months of the ban. Prior to the ban, DOT estimated that 500 out of the 2,000 trucks using Route 31 every day were through-traveling trucks not stopping for pick-up or delivery in New Jersey. Of these, roughly half or 12.5% of all trucks were over 102"wide. If consistent and vigilant, ticketing and increasingly large fines could deter the 140 trucks (7%) that are likely to still be traveling this sample road.

Companion bills that would extend the ban to include 96" vehicles still await committee hearings, an opportunity that is becoming increasingly unlikely as the legislative session nears close. This legislation, sponsored by State Senator Schluter (S49) and Assemblypersons Lance and Myers (A2384) respectively, would have an even greater impact and should be reintroduced and supported next session.

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