Court upholds $14K overweight fine for trucker who followed GPS

The truck driver was ticketed after he was caught driving a 30 ton truck on a 6 ton road.

Hellertown, PA

A Pennsylvania court has ruled against a truck driver who is accused of driving a 30 ton truck on a 6 ton weight limit road.

This week, a Pennsylvania Superior Court panel ruled against 40 year old semi truck driver Na’ron Akins and upheld the $14,250 he was issued for driving an overweight truck on a roadway in Hellertown in June 2018.

According to court documents filed on September 24:

[Akins] was cited on June 19, 2018 by Officer Kevin McCartney of the Hellertown Police Department for driving a five- ax[le] tractor-trailer on Northampton Street in the Borough of Hellertown, which was posted as having a six-ton weight limit … The weight limit for Northampton Street was based upon an engineering study, as required by statute. The Commonwealth presented evidence of the posted warning signs, advising vehicles that Northampton Street has a six-ton limit and providing an opportunity to turn onto another route. Officer McCartney had previously been certified by the Commonwealth in the weighing and measuring of vehicles and equipped with calibrated scales. At the time Officer McCartney stopped Akins, Akins provided a Bill of Lading showing that he had picked up a load at 1355 Easton Road in Bethlehem, to be delivered to Texas. Officer McCartney used scales to determine the weight of Akins’s vehicle to be 61,789 pounds, which was 49,789 pounds over the posted limit for Northampton Street. Officer McCartney calculated Akins’s fine to be $14,250.00 based upon the amount of weight the vehicle was over the posted limit.

Akins appealed to the state Superior Court after a judge in Northampton County refused to void his fine.

Akins, who represented himself in the Superior Court, argued that he had a local traffic exemption from the weight limit on Northampton Street as he had picked up a load on another nearby road.

Akins also argued that his GPS directed him to the Northampton Road to access I-78:

[Akins ] testified, and offered documentation to corroborate, that he made a local pickup at 1355 Easton Road, and that, as he was heading to Texas with his cargo, his GPS instructed him to use Northampton Road to get to Interstate 78. … Given this evidence, [Akins] contends that his conviction was “[v]ery incompetent and unprofessional on the Judge’s behalf [sic].”

The court ultimately rejected both arguments and upheld the fine:

[Akins] local pickup did not require him to drive on Northampton Road. [Akins]’s bill of lading for his Easton Road pickup did not serve as a permit to drive wherever he wanted or wherever his GPS told him to go after making his pickup, with utter disregard for posted weight restrictions. He had an obligation to avoid the restricted road via a reasonable alternative route. He failed to do so.

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