Clampdown intensifies on overweight trucks
Four months into the start of the Island Traffic Authority's (ITA) Vehicle Weight Enforcement Campaign, truckers are admitting that over the years overloading has dealt a serious blow to the country's roads and bridges.
Trucker Byron Palmer noted the public education theme, 'Truck Overload Destroys Our Roads', speaks volumes. To him, this practice not only destroys the roads, but human life and other property.
"Mi agree, 'cause a nuff time we overload all sand and gravel and dem drop in a di road. Dem things deh cause vehicles fi skid and can cause serious accidents," he said.
He recounted an accident, allegedly caused by aggregates, which last year resulted in a number of fatalities.
"Dem say it was di gravel from the truck in di road that cause the people dem to crash. A carelessness cause that," he admitted.
Deposit of aggregates
ITA director Paul Clemetson shared his sentiments.
"What we noticed is the deposit of aggregates, especially along the verges of the roads, occasioned by overweight vehicles, have resulted in motorists losing control of the vehicles and may result in serious injuries. There have been fatalities as a consequence," he said.
The ITA director, however, said this behaviour will not be tolerated after legislation with more punitive weight-enforcement proposals are passed into law.
"The new piece of legislation will place a burden on quarry operators and suppliers of other products to ensure that vehicles leave the plants with specified weight limits. If it is found that the vehicle was overloaded by the supplier, the supplier may also be culpable," he said.
Palmer said though the programme may not be well received by some sectors, everyone stands to benefit.
CAN SAVE MONEY
Port Trailers' Association President Andrew Henry believed haulage companies save money if they observe the set weight stipulations.
"My suggestion to truckers is that by not overloading your trucks over the specifications of the manufacturer, this will bring your maintenance costs down," he said.
"When you overload a truck, you are actually wearing some of the major parts on the truck that, when replaced, will be at a higher cost. So this will help to reduce costs and help with your total profitability," he continued.
Senior highway engineer of the National Works Agency (NWA), Rae Parchment, concurred.
He noted that this is the case with large trucking companies which ensure adherence to set weight limits.
"If you talk to the bigger companies which have fleets of trucks, they will tell you when they operate at the legal load, maintenance cost goes down on their vehicles," he said.
"The vehicle burns less fuel, the wear and tear is less, the braking is better, the wear on the clutch is less," he continued.