384 tickets issued to dump truck drivers
Sheriff Greg Champagne said that most of the tickets are issued for speeding, running red lights, or being overloaded.
Though 384 tickets seems like a large amount, Champagne said his office could have issued more tickets if not for rainy weather in parts of December and January that limited hauling.
“Keep in mind there was very little hauling during the second half of December and all of the month of January due to weather conditions,” Champagne said. “The drivers are paid by the load and will try to cut corners to get that extra load hauled, hence they tend to push the speed and the yellow lights. We are aware of it and are working on it constantly.”
Champagne said that most of the trucks are hauling dirt for the West Jefferson levee projects and the Western Tie-In project.
As part of the Western Tie-In, the Corps is “tying in” the West Bank and Vicinity hurricane levee with the existing Mississippi River levee. The connection occurs at the Davis Pond Diversion in Ama.
Champagne said most of the complaints about the trucks come from the Boutte area. He said that the Sheriff’s Office is using both marked and unmarked cars to monitor the trucks to make sure they are obeying traffic laws.
“(The truckers) have CB radios and let everyone know when our marked units are out. This is a deterrent, but doesn’t work where they know the marked units aren’t,” Champagne said. “The unmarked units can observe more but they radio each other on this also, so it is a continuous battle.”
Sheriff’s deputies have also visited the dirt pits to speak to all drivers about obeying the law.
“We understand that they have a job to do, but they need to do it safely,” Champagne said.
There are so many dump trucks on the road that two weeks ago, a dump truck rear-ended another dump truck at the intersection of I-310 and Highway 90.
The incident caused a traffic headache for morning commuters.
“We were set to clear the road within an hour, but one of the dump trucks broke in half when we started to tow it away,” Clint Jacob, Jake’s Towing spokesman, said. “We had to go back for more equipment but we were able to successfully remove the truck from the road so traffic could get through.”
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