Friday, July 12, 2024

System Recalculating: New State Legislation Features Different GPS Systems for Commercial Vehicles 

Good news for Blairstown backroad dwellers: the township committee voted to support two New Jersey legislative bills that would require commercial motor vehicles to be equipped with certain global positioning systems (GPS), focusing traffic onto major roads and highways, at a meeting on December 27. 

Assembly bill no. 975 was initially proposed by the Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee in the 2022-2023 session and called for the usage of GPS systems in large-scale vehicles that would alert the driver of highway infrastructure with low vehicle clearance and weight restrictions, redirecting them towards accommodating roadways. 

Amendments to the bill were made and reported in March of 2023. New Jersey assembly members clearly defined the term “commercial motor vehicle.” The bill identifies a commercial vehicle as one with “a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 or more pounds or that display a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,001 or more pounds.” 

Commercial vehicles that are exempt from this legislation include any vehicle under contract with a public, governmental, religious or charitable organization— school busses, JCP&L trucks, etc. 

This bipartisan bill is sponsored by republican representatives John DiMaio and Erik Peterson, along with democrat Daniel Benson. An identical bill was proposed in May 2022 from the New Jersey Senate and is sponsored by republicans Steven Oroho and Douglas Steinhardt. 

Along with NJ A975, NJ S2643 requires the adoption by the chief administrator of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission and would become a part of the Administrative Procedure Act. 

The passing of this legislation would be a victory for Blairstown residents who live on backroads frequently used as shortcuts by tractor trailers making deliveries. In February of 2023, several homeowners from Cedarville Road attending a township committee meeting mentioned the number of Dollar General trucks traveling their road despite the posted “No Truck” signs. 

At that meeting, Deputy Mayor Walter Orcutt stated, “It’s ridiculous, but because of the GPS, it sends them through there.”

The New Jersey state government has not made clear the penalties for noncompliance. 

At December’s Blairstown township committee meeting, Mayor Rob Moorhead spoke on the issue stating, “A lot of trucks and certainly a lot of buses are using GPS systems designed for your average, every day Kias. They’re not following truck routes. They don’t realize that they’re coming up to a bridge that’s going to sever off the top of their truck or get them hung up on Bridge Street.”

“Enough buses have been beached in Blairstown.” 

Alex Tironi Headshot
Alex Tironi, Contributing Writer
Contributing Writer

A recent graduate of George Mason University in Virginia, Alex pursued a degree in journalism with a double minor in American Sign Language and nonprofit studies. She worked as assistant news editor to the Fourth Estate, the university newspaper where she reported on many things but mostly focused on campus crime and PD activity. While working for a nonprofit called the Borgen Project, she wrote about global health and poverty in third-world nations. Alex recently finished an internship writing and editing for a business consulting company in NY. Growing up in the area, she has always been active in her community and brings the same intention as a contributing writer for the Ridge View Echo.