Brochure intended to help truckers around restricted routes in NY

| 10/28/2009

There’s ongoing confusion for truckers in New York about driving along certain routes. The problem has drawn the attention of multiple agencies, as well as Gov. David Paterson.

The New York State Department of Transportation and New York City Department of Transportation have put together a brochure, which is intended to benefit truckers who are looking to avoid situations where they might get caught up on restricted routes.

The brochure provides phone numbers and Web addresses for truck drivers in need of additional information or trip planning. Highlighting the concerns of bridge strikes on these routes, it also includes tips on what do when approaching a low overhead clearance. The restricted downstate parkways are listed and shown on a map.

Possible punishments and repercussions for getting caught on restricted routes also are listed.

The brochure stresses that relying solely on GPS units or online mapping is not advised, and it includes a plea to “always obey posted signage.”

In addition to the brochure, the agencies are working with the New York State Police and Westchester County as part of the Bridge Strike Mitigation Task Force. The groups are looking for solutions to the ongoing issue with truckers using restricted routes.

While the brochure is in line with the task force’s attempts to help educate professional drivers, Gov. Paterson has opted to pursue legislation that relies on hitting truckers in their pocketbooks.

The governor announced in mid October he is pursuing legislation that would require all large trucks to be equipped with enhanced GPS units to direct truckers away from restricted routes.

He says action must be taken to address the growing number of truckers who take routes with low clearances, resulting in so-called bridge strikes.

Truckers and their companies found in violation of the proposed rule would face numerous penalties, which could include confiscation of the truck, possible jail time, and the trucking companies or their insurance carriers footing some of the costs for repairing damaged bridges.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association was pointed in its assessment of Paterson’s proposal. The Association says efforts like this in New York are causing quality trucking jobs to go elsewhere, as well as raising costs to consumers throughout the state.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor

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