Overweight Trucks Take Toll on Local Roads

JUNE 3, 2005 -- Will Fairley hauls garbage in this 18-wheeler nine hours a day. Friday was his first time getting caught overweight.

Officer Jim Hager knew in a matter of seconds that the truck was too heavy, just by looking at the wheels as Fairly drove by.

Overweight trucks ruin North Carolina's roads and cost taxpayers as much as $100 million a year.

Hager stops around five trucks a day and fines drivers up to $10,000.

"I just expected it. I saw him pulling trucks over all day, and I just expected them to pull me over," says Fairley.

Fairley's company owes the state thousands in unpaid fines. Hager says Fairley won't be driving anywhere until he pays the money on the spot.

The reason for this tough approach is the roads. They're getting worse, and the trucks seem to be getting heavier. For many companies, it's cheaper to haul more cargo and drive overweight than to pay the fines and be on the lookout for the police.

It takes 5,000 cars to damage the roads as badly as just one truck.

Fairley weighed in 6,000 pounds over the limit. That'll cost him about $500, but with millions of trucks on the roads, Hager knows he'll find more violators.

Reported by Dan Cassuto