Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Truck enforcement - really?

This morning's Northwest Herald carries an article about truck enforcement in McHenry County.

With all due respect to the reporter, the article was a joke. He no doubt believes the line of baloney he was fed for his article. And a reporter ought to be able to believe sources. It's not the reporter's fault when he reports what he is told.

But let's look at the content.

He is right that a "select" group monitors trucks. Since he mentioned McHenry County, you'd think that he might be including deputies of the McHenry County Sheriff's Department, because the big rigs might be mostly on County roads, outside municipalities. No city cops are roaming County roads. Is anyone?

Deputy Chief Birk, of the City of McHenry PD, is right. Overweight trucks damage roads and are dangerous in other ways.

Who are the "experts" referred to? "Enforcing" truck laws means writing tickets. "Educating" truck drivers and owners is a kind gesture.

The Sheriff's Department reportedly issued 191 tickets between 2009 and 2012. That's a four-year period. 191/4 = 50/year. Or one ticket a week. I'll bet if you look at the records, you'll see the bulk of the tickets were written in 2009 and 2010. Still, on the average, it's only one a week. Which is nothing, compared to the problem. Probably one ticket a day could be written. Why not?

Trucking company owners and farmers are powerful politically. And the load rolls downhill from there.

The article says, "The department has one dedicated truck enforcement officer who also handles accident investigations and several deputies with specialized truck enforcement training."

What it doesn't say is who the "dedicated" truck enforcement deputy at MCSD is, how many hours he is on the road every week looking for truck violations, how many tickets he has written, etc. I don't know who that deputy is. In case Keith or Andy gets upset with me, that deputy and I have never communicated.

And who are the "several" deputies? Glad they have the training. It's too bad they aren't allowed to put their training to work. Has any one of them written even one ticket this year? And how many in the past three years? Twelve tickets in six months? Those deputies should either be allowed off the leash to do their jobs well, or they should be replaced.

Are there orders from the top of the food chain at MCSD to leave truckers alone? Only the deputies know...

The article further stated, "'Commercial motor vehicles and roadway safety are key to our economic recovery,' Undersheriff Andrew Zinke said. 'If drivers are operating illegally or unsafely, it is our responsibility to educate them and protect our community.'”

If that's not a political statement, I'll eat the newspaper page it's printed on. First of all, it doesn't make any sense. Secondly, it's wrong. Here's the correct statement: "If drivers are operating illegally or unsafely, it is the responsibility of the Sheriff's Department to cite them."

And this statement? "Load weight limits for 18-wheelers cannot exceed 80,000 pounds, the equivalent of 9,600 passenger cars driving over a section of roadway at the same time." No, it is absolutely not the equivalent, because the 9,600 cars are on their own set of four wheels, not piled atop one another. The load on an 18-wheeler is supported by four axles of four tires each, or 16 tires. That's what's breaking up our highways.

The McHenry County Sheriff's Dept. does not have an operating truck enforcement unit. It used to have one. It should have one. It does not have one.


Ms.Hillary said...

I had to do a word search to get this article from the NWH. Seems maybe because of some negative comments toward ZINKE they hid it.

There were a couple good comments that addressed your point about 18 wheel versus 4 wheels. Hopefully this cut and past works on these two NWH posters. I think they made good points. Others such as 60033 made similar comments.

Heavy trucks obviously cause more road damage than cars, but how much more? According to a GAO study,

Excessive Truck Weight: An Expensive Burden We Can No Longer Afford, road damage from one 18-wheeler is equivalent to 9600 cars (p.23 of study, p.36 of PDF).

The study assumed a fully loaded tractor-trailer at 80,000 pounds, and a typical passenger car at 4,000 pounds. That’s 20 times difference in weight, but the wear and tear caused by the truck is exponentially greater.

When the I-35 Bridge collapsed this was on the news many times. Stand on a bridge as a car goes by and then stand on a bridge when a semi goes by. You can feel the harmonic vibrations. Our county bridges are being neglected due to lack of enforcement. When one truck goes over a older bridge OK, Whne one 80K semi meets another 80 K semi ????????

As was stated by me and someone else. The new Undersheriff has stopped any truck emforcment west of 47. I have been told this by several deputies. Politics over safety and road damage.

OK NWH...we all know your are in bed with the Sheriff and protect you guy ZINKE. Why don't you FOIA how many trucks have been ticketed WEST OF RTE 47.... Evevyone at the Sheriff's Dept knows Zinke put a stop to truck enforcement WEST of Rte 47.

This is the USDOT calculations. The excess weight is exponential. The roads can absorb the weight of lighter passenger cars but the enormous weight of the trucks compresses the damage way down below the actual pavement. This compression and release cycle breaks the roadway. Actually that calculation was based upon a truck under the old weight of 73,280.The USDOT calculated that an 80,ooo truck did the same damage as 1000 trucks loaded at 73,280.And you wonder why the township and county roads are falling apart so fast.

The joke is that West of Rte 47 Undersheriff Andrew Zinke has forbidden the Truck enforcement officers to do his job. This is due to the heavy political backers and FARM interests and Dean’s that do not want enforcement of their milk trucks and grain trucks. When the Rte 14 scale is open the trucks use township roads. Now if they are to heavy for the STATE road, what do you think they’re doing to the townships roads?

Gus said...

Thanks, Ms.Hillary. The article still seems to be there, with 32 comments now.

Thanks for your great comment.