A Long Beach, California, prosecutor announced this week that a trucking company will pay out more than $333,000 for reportedly damaging the city’s roadways by illegally hauling oversized loads.
The Long Beach City Prosecutor’s Office announced on Tuesday that Western Maritime Express has agreed to pay $333,435 in what has been described as one of the city’s largest criminal cases.
Trucking Company Charged With 40 Misdemeanors For Heavy Loads
Prosecutor Doug Haubert says that from June 2016 through April 2017, Western Maritime failed to carry the proper permits for oversized loads and violated commercial vehicle weight limits, resulting in 40 misdemeanor charges and three infection charges. Western Maritime pled no contest to the charges.
The $333,435 bill breaks down to $213,435 in fines and fees to be paid out to the Los Angeles Superior Court along with $120,000 to be paid out to the city of Long Beach for damage to the roads.
Haubert clearly meant to make an example of Western Maritime, writing, “Although it appears most trucking companies comply with highway safety laws, we need to reinforce the message that egregious violators will be caught and prosecuted. And they will be held accountable.”
The city also cites safety hazards presented by oversized loads: “Moreover, overweight vehicles cannot stop quickly if traffic comes to an abrupt halt, potentially endangering the lives of motorists.”
Truckers Point To Port Pressure To Take Too-Heavy Loads
An attorney representing Western Maritime explained that the problem with the oversized loads is that when truckers arrive at nearby ports, they are often asked to haul too-heavy loads and penalized if they refuse. He noted, “The moment they pull out of the port, they are in violation of city laws.”
Haubert has a history of prosecuting trucking companies for oversized loads. In 2012, he settled with Pacific Coast Container, Inc. to the tune of $460,000 for 47 charges related to oversized loads, including one charge for transporting a load that was 19,000 pounds over the legal weight limit. In 2015, the Long Beach Prosecutor’s Office was able to get a guilty verdict against Martinez Trucking and Logistics, Inc. on a misdemeanor charge for transporting a load 10 tons over the legal limit.