As recently reported by Scott Braddock, there is a growing momentum that Texas needs to find a way to regulate and/or go after trucking companies that are routinely running oversize loads on our highways. Rep. Allen Fletcher, R-Cypress, and Sen. Robert Nichols, R-Jacksonville, are currently carrying bills that would substantially increase fines for truckers found to be carrying oversize loads.
In a recent House Transportation Committee hearing, supporters of Fletcher’s HB 3094 argued that something needs to be done about the overweight trucks that are tearing up roads, particularly in South Texas where the Eagle Ford Shale has made this kind of activity very profitable. The fines would go up $1 for each pound the truck is overweight. So, if a truck is caught running 10,000 pounds overweight, which is not uncommon, the fine would be $10,000 instead of $110. The money collected from those fines would be divided between the DPS to encourage enforcement and TxDOT for road maintenance. Sen. Nichols’ similar bill is SB 1671.
The current fine system is insignificant, and as a result has little punitive incentive to persuade trucking companies from following our laws. These companies put profits over safety and the law, and more substantial fines may make all of the difference with companies who will look at the bottom line. Braddock’s article also interviews a small business owner who is not particularly fond of government intervention, but in this case believes it is necessary.