Truck drivers picking up or delivering freight in certain Pennsylvania, New Jersey, Delaware and Virginia counties will be required to have an additional permit beginning Wednesday, May 1.
To help stop the spread of an invasive species of insect, the spotted lanternfly, the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture (PDA) has instituted a quarantine zone that includes 14 Pennsylvania counties, three New Jersey counties and one county each in Delaware and Virginia.
Truckers who stop in these counties will be required to have a Spotted Lanternfly Permit, which is given after completing a free online training course through Pennsylvania State University. The permit is reciprocal in the affected states.
Trucking companies that travel through but don’t stop in the quarantined counties are not required to obtain a permit. Additionally, drivers who stop in the quarantine zone just to fuel and keep moving are not required to have a permit.
The permit requirements state that only one person with a trucking company is required to take the permit test, then that person should train others within the company who will be stopping in the quarantined counties. Copies of the permit can be made and given to all drivers who are trained in spotting the spotted lanternfly and keeping it from hitchhiking on shipments. Free permits can be obtained here by taking a two-hour training course.
Affected counties in Pennsylvania include: Berks, Bucks, Carbon, Chester, Dauphin, Delaware, Lancaster, Lebanon, Lehigh, Monroe, Montgomery, Northampton, Philadelphia and Schuylkill. The quarantined New Jersey counties are Warren, Hunterdon and Mercer. Virginia’s quarantined county is Fredericks, and Delaware’s quarantined county is New Castle, mostly along the Delaware-Pennsylvania state line.
The quarantines have been in effect for several years, but a hard enforcement date for the permit begins May 1. According to Pennsylvania’s Spotted Lanternfly Quarantine Order, violators can receive a criminal citation of up to $300 per violation and a civil penalty up to $20,000 per violation, as well as revocation of the permit if PDA determines the permit-holder has not complied. Trucks will be periodically inspected in the quarantine zones for spotted lanternflies.
The spotted lanternfly is an invasive species native to Asia that has the potential to cause considerable damage to many crops in Pennsylvania and beyond, including forest products, grapes, apples, peaches and more.
More on the invasive species can be seen in the video below: