Commercial truck drivers navigating the back roads of Pound Ridge better have all their paperwork in order. The multi-agency commercial vehicle enforcement detail will be on the lookout for those that dont.
Comprised of the Pound Ridge Police Department, the New York State Police, the Department of Public Safety, the County Consumer Protection Department and the County Solid Waste Department, the enforcement detail has been conducting commercial vehicle stops at the Pound Ridge town park every two weeks since April. The program will continue through July.
Besides making sure drivers have the proper type of drivers license and required state-issued medical card, enforcement officials check for insurance, required business licenses and permits from the county, state, or Department of Environmental Conservation. The also check for DOT requirements, such as good brakes, flares, mud flaps and other vehicle safety issues.
What we have found is that sometimes [the drivers] dont even have a regular drivers license, much less a commercial license, said Pound Ridge Police Chief David Ryan. As a result, the business owners can be fined as well.
I think sometimes [the business owner] is trying to get by by hiring cheaper labor, the chief said. But most of the time its because theyre just incompetent.
Ryan said because of the towns close proximity to the Connecticut border, many truckers who know theyre breaking the law will use the back roads of Pound Ridge in an effort to avoid major highways, such as I-68, in hopes of avoiding the police.
Besides drivers licenses and vehicle safety issues, the enforcement detail also checks to make sure the trucks owners have the proper workmens compensation insurance required for whatever type of business they are running.
Weve had six or seven incidences in town where workers have been hurt and there was no workmans comp insurance, Ryan said. That [responsibility] then falls back to the homeowners, which isnt fair.
In April, the Pound Ridge police issued 11 tickets and took three vehicles out of service. State Police gave out 12 tickets and also took three vehicles out of service. The Consumer Protection Department cited six drivers for violations, which resulted in arrests. In May, Pound Ridge police wrote 19 tickets and the state police issued nine. Consumer Protection wrote 10 violations resulting in arrests.
Ryan said the program is key to helping keep local motorists safe. We have been doing this every spring since Ive been chief for the past 11 years. Its important, he said. I saw one truck with bad brakes just blow through an intersection and it nearly hit me. I pulled him over and all he could say was, you got me. I said, You got me? You could have killed someone who couldnt react as quickly as me.
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