New Jersey to restrict trucks with trailers over 48 feet

New Jersey to restrict trucks with trailers over 48 feet

TRENTON, N.J. (July 15, 1999) — New Jersey Gov. Christie Whitman has called for emergency regulations to ban heavy trucks from using two-lane undivided roads in the state.

The proposed regulation, which could take effect as early as next week, would apply to trucks pulling trailers more than 96 inches wide and 48 feet long which use non-National Highway System (NHS) roads to save mileage or tolls when traveling through or within the state. Trucks using the non-NHS routes to access local pick up and delivery points will still be allowed, provided they can show proof of origin or destination.

“She (Governor Whitman) has directed the DoT commissioner to re-route STAA vehicles to make sure they remain on the NHS highways, unless they are picking-up or delivering in New Jersey,” says Sam Cunninghame, executive director of the New Jersey Motor Truck Association. Truckers using these roads, may be stopped and asked to justify their route, but Cunninghame said his association has been promised that this action will be part of the New jersey State Police’s normal safety checks. “There will be no extra pressure, no cones set up just for this infraction,” he said.

Some truckers use the affected roads to avoid tolls on the New Jersey Turnpike, a long-standing practice that burgeoned when the New Jersey Turnpike Commission doubled truck tolls in 1991. The fee to use the highway end to end is $18.20 US.

“Large interstate trucks that are not doing business in New Jersey have no business using our local roads,” Whitman said. “This is a safety and quality of life issue, and the time to act has come.”

She promised “fines with real teeth for trucks that violate these regulations.” Whitman said the decision would not hinder interstate commerce, because trucks would still have access to major highways. The difference is that large interstate trucks not doing business in New Jersey will be prohibited from using local highways such as Routes 31, 206, 29, 518, and similar roads.

Cunninghame said that enforcement will begin immediately, but police will only issue written warnings. “The regulation has to go through the legislature yet. They don’t come back until mid-September, then it has to go through both houses and be signed by the Governor,” he said. “We’re estimating, October or November before anything really starts.”

Trucks from Toronto, for example, which are in excess of 96 inches wide and 48 feet long will still be able to use the popular route 31 to access points such as Trenton or Princeton. They will not be allowed to use route 31 to access areas on the Pennsylvania side of the Delaware river around Philadelphia.

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