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Overdrive Staff | March 01, 2011

NEW MEXICO. The state is considering a bill to allow permits for trucks up to 96,000 pounds within a 6-mile radius of a New Mexico commercial border crossing.

NORTH DAKOTA. A bill that would create a regional permit system on excess size or weight vehicles has been approved by the state House. The state patrol and state Department of Transportation would be able to negotiate pacts with other states to allow oversize or overweight vehicles to move between states in the region under a single-trip permit.

TENNESSEE. The Department of Transportation has launched a major rehabilitation on the State Route 56 bridge over the Caney Fork River in Dekalb County. The bridge, commonly referred to as “Hurricane Bridge,” was constructed in 1954. Traffic will be maintained on the bridge during the project, which is slated for completion by 2013.

VERMONT. A bill would require that vehicles weighing more than 10,000 pounds could idle no more than five minutes an hour. First-time violators would get a warning. After that, fines could range from $150 to $500.


FMCSA official pleads not guilty to bribery

A Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration field supervisor has pleaded not guilty to a bribery charge, despite recordings of him agreeing to delay a carrier review or audit for cash.

On Jan. 19, U. S. Attorney William J. Hochul Jr., for Western District of New York, filed the criminal complaint in Buffalo federal court. The next day, Delevan resident James H. Wood, 44, entered a not guilty plea to the felony charge of accepting a bribe in his official duties.

A safety consultant for Canadian carriers recorded telephone conversations with Wood, who allegedly agreed to delay a compliance review or safety audit of a Canadian trucking company.

In January, officials from the U.S. Department of Transportation’s Office of Inspector General began working with a confidential informant. The informant estimated he had paid bribes of $60,000 to $70,000 over two years, in cash and through Western Union.

In return, Wood allegedly provided a list of Canadian companies targeted for inspection and initiated complaint audits to put a company out of business and a “friendly audit” to assist a company in getting satisfactory rating.

The charge carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison, a fine of $250,000, or both.

– Jill Dunn



SHORT HAULS

TRUCK TONNAGE calculated by the American Trucking Associations increased 4.2 percent in December from a year earlier. ATA said the December index was the highest since September 2008 and 2.2 percent above November. For 2010, tonnage rose 5.7 percent from the previous year. Tonnage declined 8.7 percent in 2009.

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