The California Highway Patrol commercial officers say they are not handing out tickets to truckers off route with illegally long trailers – only giving drivers prepared educational packets to get the word out.
Officer Vic Abel – one of three commercial officers in the region – has been stopping truckers on Manteca’s Commerce Avenue in Spreckels Park when they violate trailer length limitations for the roadway. Truckers have reportedly been over length by six to eight feet.
“It’s purely informational what we are trying to do in an effort to get their companies to provide terminal access for the longer trailers. Any citations that have been issued have been only for mechanical violations,” Abel said. Traffic officers in black and white patrol cars have not been part of the effort which is limited to the commercial officers in their commercial enforcement pickup trucks.
The federal Surface Transportation Assistance Act (STAA) became law in 1982 allowing a 65-foot combined tractor and trailer – a set of double trailers is limited to 75 feet, he said.
Abel said the CHP effort is focused on getting the cities and the county to provide terminal access rather than allowing truckers to travel on smaller streets to make their deliveries.
“Tracy has turned over a new leaf and they have terminal access established and it is working out well,” he said.
He added that San Joaquin County has taken the lead in responding to the CHP truck program and response has been favorable over the last five years.
As for giving tickets, “We inspect them (the trucks) all the time and they know what to expect,” the commercial officer said.
“It’s a big liability bringing long truck in when they don’t have a terminal – someone is going to have an accident when off route,” he said.
CHP public affairs officer Angel Arceo, of the Stockton CHP office, said the truckers may still use their delivery route in Manteca, but they must use shorter trailers that are within the limits of the federal statute.
The CHP informational packet provides drivers with the addresses and phone numbers of the contact personnel at the six cities in the county: Escalon, Lathrop, Lodi, Manteca, Ripon, Stockton and Tracy.
In California the federal Surface Transportation Act routes consist of the National Network routes signified in green on the maps and terminal access route shown in blue.
The STAA truck lengths are limited to the green and blue routes and use highways “which provide reasonable access to terminals and facilities for purposes limited to fuel, food, lodging and repair when that access is consistent with save operation – and when the facility is within one road mile of identified points of ingress and egress.”
Truckers’ use of other unidentified local streets and roads requires prior approval from local highway authority. In California, that is the CHP.