New York State plans to get tougher on truckers whose loads violate height and weight restrictions by increasing fines and threatening possible suspension of vehicle registrations. However, the state’s trucking organization believes the proposed fines are “punitive” and hopes to see them reduced before they become law.
Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo’s 2021 proposed budget includes a measure that breaks down the penalties he wants to be imposed on truckers entering restricted parkways near New York City. Those fines/penalties include:
Less than 10,000 pounds
- First violation – $250 and/or 15 days in jail
- Second violation within 18 months – $500 and/or 45 days in jail
- Third violation within 18 months – $750 and/or 90 days in jail
Between 10,000 and 26,000 pounds
- First violation – $1000 and/or 15 days in jail
- Second violation within 18 months – $1,500 and/or 45 days in jail
- Third violation within 18 months – $2,500 and/or 90 days
Over 26,000 pounds
- First violation – $5000 and/or 15 days in jail
- Second violation within 18 months – $7,500 and/or 45 days in jail
- Third violation within 18 months – $10,000 and/or 90 days in jail
New fines/penalties for overheight vehicles
- First offense – $5,000 and/or 30 days in jail
- Second offense – $7,500 and/or 60 days in jail
In addition, for violations by vehicles exceeding 26,000 pounds (or otherwise defined), the owner’s registration may be suspended for one year.
Trucking Asociation of New York President Kenda Hems said she hopes that between now and April 1 when a final state budget is due the organization can work the governor and legislators to create what she called “a more reasonable fine structure.”
Hems said TANY has long been part of the state’s bridge strike task force trying to inform truckers about restrictions on New York’s parkways. She said the state has added improved signage to keep trucks off the old narrow parkways that are crossed by low bridges.
Hems also said much of the problem of trucks on the restricted and aged parkways can be traced to two issues:
- out of state drivers unfamiliar with the parkways and their truck restrictions
- those drivers using GPS units or apps that do not show trucking-related information and not paying attention to parkway signs
She said the state and New York City have worked with GPS providers to include information to keep trucks off the parkways and warn of other restrictions. Senators from New York, Connecticut, Massachusetts, and New Jersey also recently called on GPS service providers to add more truck-related information to their products.
Last year, Governor Cuomo’s budget included $25 million to mitigate bridge strikes on parkways across New York state. According to a statement from Cuomo’s office, there are about 150 vehicle bridge hits every year across the state. The resulting road congestion, towing, cleanup and personnel needed to address these bridge hits cost the state about $30 million per year.