state lawmaker wasted little time this year putting together a bill that would
eliminate uniform speeds on rural highways in the state and force big trucks to
travel slower than other vehicles.
On the first day of the state’s two-year legislative session,
Assemblywoman Marcia Karrow, R-Flemington, introduced a bill calling for all
trucks weighing more than 10,000 pounds – and for any trucks hauling hazardous
materials regardless of weight – to be slowed by 10 mph to 55 mph. All other
vehicles would be allowed to continue to travel at the current 65 mph limit.
Karrow’s bill is similar to two failed efforts in the past few years by
her predecessor, Assemblywoman Connie Myers. Neither bill made it out of
Myers’ original proposal came after a horrific day in November 2002
when three separate accidents on Interstates 80, 287 and 78 – all involving
trucks – killed three people, injured six and delayed thousands of commuters.
State officials said none of the accidents were caused by truck drivers.
Gail Toth, director of the New Jersey Motor Truck Association, told Land Line she doesn’t foresee the outcome of this latest
effort ending up differently than the previous attempts to eliminate uniform
“It would be absolutely obscene to adopt split speeds. I think most
people in government understand it,” Toth said.
speeds are dangerous. We have very highly congested highways. We cannot have
people driving at two different levels. Especially on highly truck-traveled
roads. I can’t even imagine. It would be like bumper cars.”
Toth said concerns about highway safety would be better addressed
simply by enforcing current regulations in the state.
“These are knee-jerk reactions to situations instead of just saying
‘let’s get more cops on the road and enforce the law in general.’ That would
stop a lot of the problem,” she said.
Karrow’s effort – A1791 – has been referred to the Assembly
Transportation and Public Works Committee.
– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor