New Jersey bill addresses truck weight enforcement

By Keith Goble
state legislative editor

A bill in the New Jersey Assembly would allow a sheriff's department to weigh, measure and inspect commercial vehicles.

Current state law relegates weighing and inspections to the New Jersey State Police.

The bill, sponsored by Assemblyman Reed Gusciora, D-Mercer, would allow sheriff's deputies to require truck drivers to take their rigs to a weigh station or other location to be weighed, but only if the officer had probable cause to believe the truck was in violation of state weight limits.

Only an officer certified by the state as a weighmaster can weigh the trucks, and only on scales approved by the state superintendent of Weights and Measures.

However, the state police would retain the right, to "establish and operate locations for the measurement and weighing of vehicles."

In addition, the state police would keep the sole authority to conduct random roadside weight checks. A random roadside inspection could not be conducted if a truck had been stopped for a random roadside inspection anywhere in the U.S. within the previous 24 hours.

Gail Toth, director of the New Jersey Motor Truck Association, told Land Line the frequency of overweight trucks in the state doesn't warrant expanding who has authority to conduct inspections. She questions the motives behind the effort.

"Research the state police has done shows less than 1 percent of all trucks weighed are found to be overweight. The only reason local governments are pursuing this is because they want more revenue. That's all I can figure," Toth said.

Instead, Toth offered her own solution.

"If they are so concerned about overweight trucks, we would support designating land in municipalities where a high-speed, modern weigh station could be put in. I have no problem with that. That way, it's controlled by the state police and it's done in a fair, quick fashion."

At press time, the bill - A897 - was in the Assembly Transportation and Public Works Committee.