Trinidad’s ‘Big Truck’ menace

(Trinidad Express) The $750 fine for an overweight truck is no deterrence, says acting Transport Commissioner Basdeo Gosine.

He said Government needed to recommend an increase.

Last Friday, the Ministry of Works and Transport has commissioned its first weight control station at Golconda, San Fernando, where trucks will be inspected and ticketed.

Works Minister Rohan Sinanan, along with the acting Transport Commissioner Gosine and other licensing officials stopped and weighed 64 trucks. Sixty-two trucks were overweight.

Speaking with the Express, Gosine said from the point-of-view of contractors who allow for truckers to carry materials in excess of the required amount, it made economic sense for them to pay the ‘small’ fee as they are able to gain back that amount in no time.

Sinanan who spoke to the media on Friday said heavy trucks were granted special licenses given the loads they carry, and they are only allowed on certain roads.

He said that the overweight trucks have contributed significantly to the deterioration of the roadways in the country and has caused a significant impact to road safety.

“The heavy trucks were licensed for specific roads and that is why they got those sort of licenses, so we have those trucks damaging all the roads and even on the highways that have been designed for heavy trucks because of the overweight of the trucks you would recognize by some traffic lights you would see some sinking on the road , the rutting of the road and this is because of the weight of the trucks,” said Sinanan.

The trucks weighed last Friday had violations which ranged from 1,000 kilogramme to 15,000 kilogramme in excess.

“I cannot understand how we could have been licensing trucks for this amount of weight knowing fully well that the road infrastructure was not designed,” said the Minister.

Sinanan said that he plans to tackle this issue by opening at least five weight scale across the country, which would allow for licensing officers to randomly stop trucks drivers, have them inspected, weighed and ticketed for its weight violations.

Additionally, Gosine said there were only 10 Motor Vehicle Officers to service the entire country. He said he would like to have a full complement of officers out in the various regions, “but if we could get at least 25 now, that will help. We understand there are limited resources and there must be due process for hiring such individuals and that is something that Service Commission will have to follow through on.”

Asked whether he believed the fines should be increased, Gosine said for this to occur the Works Minister will have to make recommendation which would then have to be approved by Cabinet.

He also said there were weighing station services available at the Licensing Offices, however, the one in San Fernando, “had fallen into disrepair.”

He said the new Weight Control Station will now be used to service the south region.

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