Fawcett letter: Progress seen on 'No Thru Trucks' enforcement for Route 136
If you live in Greenfield Hill or anywhere along state Route 136 in Easton, Fairfield or Westport you've likely become aware of the onerous stream of large trucks that use our neighborhoods as a cut through from I-84 to I-95.
How can a state road designated "No Thru Trucks" with multiple signs posted remain host to so many large, unwelcome vehicles? Travel along Route 136 almost any time of year, and you are likely to experience an 18 wheeler barreling up behind you. I don't live off Route 136, but that happened to me twice this fall when I was up that way.
For three years I have been working to strengthen the states existing "No Thru Trucks" law. Local police departments provide extraordinary service and attention to community concerns, but they are frustratingly unable to enforce the current statute because it is weakly written.
"No Thru Trucks" road designation was created in the 1970s. It was an effort to deter truck traffic from residential roads. It allows trucks on such roads only if their business originated along the route or they had pickups or deliveries along it. Trucks are not supposed to use "No Thru Trucks" roads as shotcuts between highways.
But these enforcement problems persist:
1) Is there probable cause under the law -- as written -- for police to to pull over a truck simply because it is a truck?
2) When a truck is pulled over on a "No Thru Trucks" road, how does the driver prove to the officer the truck is there legally?
After three years of advocacy, several public hearings on the issue and strong public disagreements with the truck lobby, some relief may be in sight. While there are different interpretations of enforceability of the current statute, state and local police have agreed to work together to bring a change in enforcement practices on "No Thru Trucks" roads.
Fairfield, Easton and Westport neighbors should keep an eye out for better enforcement of the law and reduced truck traffic should be the result. We may not eliminate those intrusive trucks cutting through our community to save some time. But can celebrate progress that will make our roads safer and quieter places to travel.
State Rep. Kim Fawcett