A number of truckers say that the town of Erie, Colorado, is taking advantage of them by issuing expensive — and almost impossible to avoid — overweight tickets.
Truckers Angered Over Hefty Fines And Questionable Sign Placement
On January 20, the town of Erie increased the fine for violating the weight limit from $1,030 to $2,650, making it one of the most costly traffic tickets that a police officer can write.
According to truck driver Craig Engle, “You’ve heard of speed traps. This is a truck trap.”
The “truck trap” that Engle is referring to is the town’s placement of signs forbidding trucks weighing over 13 tons.
Drivers say that the problem with the signs is threefold:
- 1. “Legally, I wouldn’t even be able to come down this road empty,” said driver Jeff Winowiecki.
- 2. There is no warning about the upcoming weight limit until it is too late, and once you spot the sign, there is no safe way to turn your truck around. Driver Tim Temple said, “It`s a scam. You can’t turn around nowhere. You can’t back up nowhere. All you can do is go straight through town.“
- 3. Erie police are often on hand and quick to hand out costly tickets, according to drivers familiar with the area. A single police officer, Alfredo Nevarez, handed out 28 overweight violation tickets to truckers in 2016 alone.
Engle called for other drivers to boycott the town to protest the “truck trap.”
Erie Says The Signs Are “Properly Posted”
City officials say that there is nothing wrong with their weight limit signage: “Weight limit signs have been properly posted for years. Our officers have issued warnings in an attempt to educate truck drivers of our local ordinances related to overweight vehicles. Our officers have called the out of town quarries to advise of the weight limit in town and suggested to the owners that they tell drivers not to drive through town with overweight loads.Yet, in spite of these proactive warnings and outreach, some drivers continue to exceed weight limits by 200 (percent) to 300 (percent).”