Gardner to consider doubling fines for truck route violations

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GARDNER, Kan. — In an effort to limit large truck traffic in residential areas, the Gardner City Council will consider doubling fines for truck drivers who deviate from designated truck routes inside city limits.

Tuesday Gardner City Council will review an ordinance to amend city code that would double the fine for truck route violations. 

The city code establishes truck routes on many roads that are also highways. Current truck routes in Gardner include:  

  • Main Street (U.S. 56 Highway)
  • Old U.S. 56 Highway
  • 175th Street from I-35 to the east City limits
  • Center Street/South Gardner Road from I-35 to Main Street
  • Moonlight Road north of Main Street

Kenneth Huggins owns Cars, Trucks, Etc. Repair Shop on Main Street and sees large trucks drive by his shop daily. Huggins said he thinks a lack of street signage in other parts of the city make it confusing for truck drivers to know where they should and shouldn’t be.

“The state never put up signs for where the truckers needed to go. They’re going to rely on their GPS, because these people come in from strange parts of the country and are not familiar with our [part of the] country here, our city,” Huggins.

If approved by the council, the fine for truck drivers deviating from designated truck routes will double from $100 to $200 plus court costs. 

Gardner Police Chief James Belcher estimates officers interact with heavy haul truck drivers on non-truck routes almost daily. 

“We don’t want a heavy truck to get into a neighborhood where streets are small and you have cars parked; You have pedestrians out, you have kids out playing. That’s just unsafe and that’s what we are trying to avoid by making sure we have enforcement out there to mitigate that as much as we can,”Belcher said. 

Belcher said the police department monitors heavy traffic areas and is discussing ways to obtain additional signage to inform drivers what routes are and are not appropriate for commercial trucks to be on. 

“We know some of the trouble areas that we have. We pay extra attention to some of those areas to make sure we have officers that are looking for those violations,” Belcher said. 

If given a citation, the driver is responsible for paying the fine and appearing in court. Huggins said he feels that it would be more effective for the city to pass the fine on to the trucking company, instead of the driver. 

“A $200 fine to a basic truck driver, that comes out of his back pocket. It’s probably not out of the company. They need to go after the companies and they need to be notified ‘hey this is not a route you tell your drivers to take’,” Huggins said. 

The council will vote on an ordinance to amend fees for truck route violations during the regular council meeting on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

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