We were able to get a Driving Off Truck Route ticket dismissed today at the TVB for a commercial driver client of ours. In NYC, any truck with more than 2 axles and 6 wheels must travel only on a valid truck route and is permitted to drive off the established truck routes only when it is necessary to complete a “local pick up or delivery”. The term local is generally limited to a 2-3 block deviation off of the nearest valid truck route.
Drivers should consult a current truck route map issued by NYS DOT so that they can carefully plan out the route they must follow in order to stay on truck routes. Do not count on traffic signs to indicate which roads are and are not truck routes because there rarely are such signs. Truck drivers simply must know the NYC truck routes before driving in NYC.
In today’s case, the motorist was aware of the truck routes and did stay on a truck route according to his most recent truck route map. However, the issuing officer testified that the law pertaining to this particular location was changed approximately two weeks prior to the date that this motorist was pulled over. His explanation was that this change in the law removed this particular avenue from the approved list of available truck routes, thus turning it into yet another prohibited street for truckers not making a pick up or delivery in the immediate area.
Fortunately, the judge sided with fairness and agreed with my argument not to convict the motorist for driving on a street that was in fact a valid truck route a mere two weeks prior to the incident in question. Neither the maps online nor the statute books motorists may obtain at a local DMV were updated quickly enough to reflect the changes. While our client was technically off a truck route, we made a compelling enough argument based on the fact that this driver did what he reasonably could do by consulting his most recent copy of the truck route map and planning his route accordingly. The judge ruled that it would be an unfair burden on a motorist to require him to know the minute there are tweaks to an existing law like this, especially when the changes in question are not reinforced via signage on the road.
Submitted by Andrea Casellas, Esq.
Feifer & Greenberg, LLP