Overweight trucks were a big problem in Kentucky, especially
in the eastern part of the state, so the Kentucky Vehicle Enforcement decided
it was time to take action.
“Our goal is to have trucks running legal weight limits, and
we plan to continue to enforce the law,” said Chris Gilligan, Kentucky
Transportation Cabinet information officer.
Gregg Howard,a commissioner with the Kentucky
Transportation Cabinet, said that the main problem was with coal trucks coming
out of the mines in eastern Kentucky. Those trucks were so overloaded, that
rather than tipping the scales around the 126,000-pound mark (the legal limit
for coal-haul routes) many were weighing in around 150,000 to 180,000 pounds.
“We even had one that weighed 229,000 pounds,” Howard said,
“and a lot over 200,000 pounds.”
Vehicle Enforcement started the blitz June 28. At that time,
it was only intended to last a couple weeks. But it has been so successful and
met with such great support – some completely unexpected – that it is
While the state isn’t planning on backing down, and quite
honestly, many officials are a little shocked that truckers aren’t asking them
to back off.
In a recent town hall meeting of sorts, Kentucky Gov. Ernie
Fletcher, met with residents of an eastern Kentucky community. In attendance
were a number of truck drivers. When the discussion of the overweight
enforcement came up, the responses from the truckers somewhat caught them
“The truck drivers, in essence, were begging law enforcement
officials to enforce the law on them,” Gilligan said. “They don’t want to run
the risk of killing someone with overweight trucks.”
When the enforcement blitz started, law enforcement
officials wrote hundreds of tickets right off the bat. But, that number has
been tapering off.
As the enforcement campaign evolved and built steam,
law-enforcement officials who not only saw the problem as a public safety
issue, they started ticketing it as one.
“The state is now going after the coal operator who
willfully overloads trucks,” Gilligan said. “The owner can be cited with a
violation with a maximum fine of $500.
The truck driver isn’t the only one being punished or targeted for this violation.”
Howard added that it appeared that the program has really
gotten everyone’s attention.
“We weighed 50 trucks by 10 this morning (less than a month
into the campaign) and not a one of them was overweight,” Howard said.
--by Jami Jones, feature editor
Jami Jones may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org