Town Topics — Princeton's Weekly Community Newspaper Since 1946.
Vol. LXII, No. 23
 
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
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Area Police Clamping Down on Truck Traffic

Ellen Gilbert

Lawrence Police Officer Bryce Dowers was describing a recent exchange he had with a truck driver. “‘I’m heading back to Montreal,’” he quoted the driver as saying. “Then what are you doing on Route 206?” was the officer’s response.

Such exchanges are likely to become more frequent as a result of a joint municipality truck enforcement program announced yesterday by Princeton Borough Police Chief Anthony Federico, Princeton Township Police Chief Mark V. Emann, and Lawrence Township Police Chief Daniel A. Posluszny. In an effort to discourage trucks that should be taking the turnpike from getting a free ride on local roads like Route 206, police from the three municipalities will be stopping trucks to check for unsafe equipment, up-to-date paperwork, and outstanding traffic violations.

“It’s a dollars-and-cents equation for trucks,” observed Lawrence Township Councilman Barry Bostock. “It seems to be cheaper to take a non-toll road, but aggressive enforcement will change the balance when it’s no longer a free ride.” The impact, he noted, would be felt immediately, as a single trucker who gets stopped radios others to steer clear of the area.

In his opening comments at Tuesday’s press conference Mr. Federico said that the initiative had begun about a month ago. “Ninety percent of the complaints to all three police departments have to do with traffic,” he said. “We’re not targeting trucks in general; we just want to make sure they are safe and following laws.”

Representatives from all three municipalities lauded the collaboration. Borough Council representative Barbara Trelstad called the initiative “a wonderful thing” and thanked the police departments for caring about the safety of both residents and truckers. Township Committee member Chad Goerner also thanked everyone involved, adding that “this is an important component of a larger effort to reduce truck traffic on our main streets.” Lawrenceville Council member Pam Mount noted that “we understand the need to move things — two-thirds of of our economy is based on moving stuff — but trucks should be safe. We’re delighted that the Borough and the Township reached out to Lawrence Township.”

Mr. Bostock pointed out that one truck does the equivalent of 9,800 cars’ worth of damage to roads, “not to mention the pollution they cause.”

Officer Dowers, who was described as one of “the premier officers in the state for safety inspection,” noted that truck drivers
actually welcome interventions. “They want help,” he said, adding, “they don’t want to drive the unsafe vehicles that companies sometimes force them to drive.”

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