Truck traffic has decreased on key New Jersey roads since Gov. Christie Whitman announced a ban on through trucks on non-national highways last month. But some local officials want even tougher rules.
A survey by the state Department of Transportation shows weekday truck traffic on Route 31 has dropped 20%. Truck traffic also has dropped on Route 206. However, a fatal truck crash on Route 29 last week renewed calls from local officials for the governor to get tougher. A governor spokesperson says the governor will listen to suggestions to expand the truck ban.
Currently, trucks domiciled in New Jersey are exempt from the ban. But last week's crash involved two tractor-trailers that were registered in the state and were 96 inches wide. Some have suggested that the ban include New Jersey-based trucks. The New Jersey Motor Truck Assn. says it would oppose such a move, saying it would affect the state economically.
Whitman announced the emergency ban a month ago. It applies to through trucks at least 102 inches wide. Such trucks must take roads on the National Highway Network, such as the New Jersey Turnpike and Interstate highways, rather than New Jersey roads such as Routes 1, 130, 31, 206, 29 and 518.
DOT spokesman John Dourgarian says the figures show the ban is working - even though truckers that violate the ban can't be fined until lawmakers pass legislation. He predicts that once that happens, the drop in truck traffic will be even more significant.