The Island Traffic Authority (ITA) launched the Vehicle Weight Enforcement Programme on Tuesday, December 15 at the Carib Cement Company compound in Rockfort, Kingston.
The programme entails having scales set up at strategic points in the island to weigh vehicles to ensure that they are carrying the specified amount of weight under the law. Concomitant with that will be the airing of commercials and public service announcements with a view to educating stakeholders about the weigh scales and the attendant issues.
Speaking at the ceremony, Paul Clemetson, Director of the Island Traffic Authority (ITA) highlighted the fact that even though it is an offence for weight being carried on vehicles to exceed the legally prescribed capacity, some truck and trailer operators have taken the matter to unacceptable proportions.
Continuing, he said, “Overladen vehicles continue to destroy roads, bridges and culverts resulting in excessive costs to the nation. Some operators exceed the axle load by 200% of the legal unit.”
For his part, Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Transport and Works, Dr. Alwin Hales said that the introduction of the weight scales will see some $200M being allocated for the design and construction. Dr. Hales disclosed that a contract is about to be signed for the construction of the first permanent scale to be located in Harbour View while another is to be constructed at Agualta Vale; two others, he said, will be constructed at locations to be named.
In explaining how the system will work, the Permanent Secretary said, “the law provides for the police to divert truckers within an 8 kilometre distance to the nearest scale. For trucks which are overweight, the drivers will have to pull off the road and take off the excess weight before they are allowed to continue and they would be responsible for anything that they leave behind.”
One of the portable scales which will help the police to clamp down on offenders was tested on Tuesday, during the Launch. Two trucks laden with cement from the nearby cement company were weighed on the scale.
Other presenters on the programme were Minister Mike Henry who said the programme would lead to significant reductions in the damage to the nation’s roadways while at the same time improving the safety of everyone; Mr. Patrick Wong, CEO of the National Works Agency; Mr. Clement Watson, Executive Director of the Road Maintenance Fund; Supt. Terrence Bent of the Jamaica Constabulary Force and Mrs. Alice Hyde, Marketing Manager at the Caribbean Cement Company.
Persons convicted of the practice of operating overweight vehicles shall be liable to imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months or a fine not exceeding $25,000.00 or both.