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If you have been cited for failing to abide by Rhode Island’s traffic laws, you can face serious problems: your driving record will be affected, your insurance premiums may increase and you may face significant fines depending on the traffic offense. In addition, if you are a commercial driver, you may face even more severe penalties.
Thousands of truckers are ignoring clear warnings and getting fined rather than take a detour around a decaying bridge. If you are a truck driver or trucking company who has received a fine for violating the Pawtucket River Bridge axle restriction and weight limit on Interstate 95 you could be subject to hefty fines. According to the Providence Journal in March of 2009, “More than 5,600 truckers have been charged with violating the bridge’s weight postings since November 2007, and the state police say they had issued more than $3 million in fines by the end of last month.”
In late 2007, the Rhode Island State Department of Transportation inspectors found that rust had compromised the strength of the Pawtucket River Bridge’s steel beams and other supports. The state imposed a 22-ton weight limit at the end of November 2007, effectively banning large trucks from the bridge. The DOT also closed an entrance ramp and part of a lane on the northbound side, added steel supports underneath to hold up the rest of that lane and diverted traffic from the bridge’s edges. Signs banning trucks heavier than the weight limit went up on highways leading to the bridge. In the months after imposing the fines, inspections found more deterioration in the bridge’s beams, and the weight limit was reduced to 18 tons.
To make the penalty easier to enforce starting in August of 2008 the State of Rhode Island banned single vehicles with more than two axles and combination vehicles with more than two axles per unit. Before that, the state police had to pull over trucks that they suspected violated the weight limit and weigh them to prove it. Afterward, although they have continued to enforce the weight limits, too, they could also identify violators by counting axles.
That legislation also imposed $3,000 fines for violating the axle restriction for the first time and up to $5,000 for repeat violations.
As a former Rhode Island Special Assistant Attorney General from 1993-1997 Defense Attorney S. Joshua Macktaz, Esq. prosecuted hundreds of criminal cases ranging from disorderly conduct to first-degree murder in every Rhode Island County. Additionally, along with other prosecutors, he lectured in-coming police academy cadets on proper traffic violation investigations and prosecutions. This unique experience has allowed him a wealth of knowledge not readily available to the average Rhode Island Traffic Ticket Defense Lawyer or criminal defense attorney. Since 1997 he has applied all that he learned as a prosecutor in order to better benefit hundreds of private clients.
- (a) It shall be unlawful to transport or operate over or upon the Pawtucket River Bridge or the Sakonnet River Bridge, any single vehicle equipped with more than two (2) axles or any combination vehicle equipped with more than two (2) axles per unit except those listed in this section.
- (b) The director of the department of transportation is directed to post signs to limit access as prescribed in subsection (a) of this section.
- (c) The following vehicles shall be exempt from the provisions of this section: any and all emergency vehicles, state vehicles, municipal vehicles, truck tractors as defined in § 31-1-4 and Rhode Island public transit authority vehicles.
- (d) For the purposes of this section, “carrier” means and includes any company or person who furthers their commercial or private enterprise by use of the vehicle.
- (e) Any carrier operating a vehicle or combination of vehicles in violation of this section shall be fined three thousand dollars ($3,000) for the first offense, not to exceed five thousand dollars ($5,000) for each and every subsequent offense.
- (f) Nothing in this provision shall waive or modify existing weight restrictions on the bridges as defined in § 31-25-27.
- Axle restriction on the Pawtucket River Bridge and the Sakonnet River Bridge – Rhode Island State Law CHAPTER 31-25, SECTION 31-25-30
- $3-million ticket: Truckers busted at Pawtucket River Bridge – Providence Journal March ’09 Article
- Truckers Assessed $1 Million in Fines Over Weight-Restricted Bridge in R.I. – AllBusiness October ’08 Article
- Stay off Rhode Island’s Pawtucket Bridge – fleetowner.com March ’09 Article
It is your constitutional right to represent yourself in any court of law. But, is this wise? To quote an old adage, “A person who represents himself has a fool for a client.” This saying has been applied to everyone, including lawyers who represent themselves. And besides, most jobs simply do not prepare a person to cross-examine a police officer. That is something that is best left to someone who has undergone specialized training – your lawyer. An experienced Rhode Island traffic ticket lawyer can even the odds against you and potentially save you $1,000’s!
As a former Rhode Island Special Assistant Attorney General from 1993-1997 Defense Attorney Macktaz prosecuted hundreds of criminal cases ranging from disorderly conduct to first degree murder in every Rhode Island County. Additionally, along with other prosecutors, he lectured in-coming police academy cadets on proper traffic violation investigations and prosecutions. This unique experience has allowed him a wealth of knowledge not readily available to the average Rhode Island Traffic Ticket Defense Lawyer or criminal defense attorney. Since 1997 he has applied all that he learned as a prosecutor in order to better benefit hundreds of private clients.(401) 861-1155