New Jersey Governor Christie Whitman's recent ban preventing out-of-state trucks not making local pickups or deliveries from using county, state, and some U.S. routes has created waves throughout the industry. And OOIDA is following the issue closely.
"Because these routes are not designated truck routes, state officials may be totally within their rights to restrict trucks," says Todd Spencer, OOIDA vice president. "However, the restrictions become less clear from a legal perspective when exemptions are granted for larger trailers simply because those trailers are based in New Jersey."
The ban applies to trucks pulling trailers longer than 48 feet, trailers wider than 96 inches, and twin trailer combinations. Toward the end of July, the Department of Transportation began to erect signs along local roadways.
The number of trucks using state highways has been a recent sore spot with many New Jersey residents. Some of these routes have been used regularly by truckers for more than 40 years. Sources familiar with truck traffic in these areas say the ban might not even be noticeable since 90-95 percent of the trucks are doing business locally.
For now, it appears truckers will not be ticketed. Because tickets and penalties can only be issued after state lawmakers have adopted the governor's emergency regulations as state law, it appears truckers who violate the ban will only be warned and asked to turn around.
State officials will likely push lawmakers to approve the restrictions as law. Lawmakers will decide what the penalties will be for truckers who violate the provisions of the ban. Lawmakers could adopt the governor's recommendations as early as October.
"New Jersey truckers would be wise to use this time to talk with state representatives and senators," Spencer says. "While a ban against out-of-state trucks may not touch you, if locals get into the enforcement business, they aren't likely to care where a truck is from."
If you use New Jersey highways, please contact OOIDA at 800-444-5791, or fill out our online form athttp://www.ooida.com. The association will use this information during discussion with state officials.