Overweight $ 14,000 Truck Fine Confirmed; GPS no excuse Penn. Court finds
A Pennsylvania appeals court has upheld a $ 14,000 fine for a trucker who violated obesity laws without accepting the driver’s apology, which was heard again.
On Tuesday, September 24, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court upheld a lower court ruling to fined truck driver Na’Ron Emil Akins $ 14,250 for being overweight in Hellertown. Akins represented himself in court and made an argument that has become all too well known in the industry in the 21st century.
Almost 50,000 pounds overweight
In June 2018, Akins was stopped by a Hellertown Police Department officer for driving a five-axle articulated truck on Northampton Street. There is a weight limit of 6 tons on the road. Truckers receive sufficient warnings to turn onto a different route via road signs.
At the time, Akins had just picked up a cargo in Bethlehem, Penn. The cargo was to be delivered in Texas. The officer who was trained to weigh trucks found that the truck weighed 61,789 pounds. Akins was nearly £ 50,000 over the stated limit.
GPS is not an excuse
However, one of the exceptions to the overweight laws applies to on-site deliveries. Akins tried to invoke this exception. In fact, he had documented evidence that the cargo he had picked up was considered local. In addition, Akins presented evidence that his GPS directed him to use the Northampton road.
This obesity exception comes with some limitations. First, pick up must be on Northampton Street. If not in Northampton it is somewhere that cannot reasonably be accessed without driving on this road. Using a MapQuest printout, the state was able to prove that Akins’ pickup location was half a mile from where he was quoted. In addition, the map revealed that Akins had ample opportunity to turn onto a different route.
“Akins’ argument that he followed a GPS navigator does not excuse his failure to follow posted traffic signs, including properly posted warnings of weight restrictions on surface roads,” the court found.
The appeals court agreed with the court’s analysis of the overweight exceptions.
“The applicant’s local pick-up did not require him to drive on Northampton Road,” the court said. “The applicant’s waybill for his collection on Easton Road did not serve as permission to go where he wanted or where his GPS told him to go after collection, in complete disregard of the stated weight restrictions. He was obliged to avoid the blocked road via a sensible alternative route. He failed. “