Truck route violations may double in Gardner, Kan.

July 9, 2021

Tyson Fisher

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Gardner, Kan., is one step closer to increasing fines for truck route violations.

On July 6, the Gardner City Council approved an ordinance amending the city code pertaining to truck route violations. Essentially, the city wants to double the usual fine to $200.

Chapter 10.15.050 of the city code currently reads that violators “shall be fined not less than $50 nor more than $200 for each offense.” Truckers convicted of the offense are typically fined $100. The proposed ordinance adopts a flat $200 fine for all truck route violations.

Gardner’s truck routes are:

  • Main Street (U.S. 56 Highway)
  • Old U.S. 56 Highway
  • 175th Street from Interstate 35 to the east city limits
  • Center Street/South Gardner Road from I-35 to Main Street (U.S. 56)
  • Moonlight Road north of Main Street

Trucks operating anywhere else are in violation of the city code. However, this does not apply to trucks “carrying goods, wares, or merchandise or other articles to and from any house, residence or business,” according to the code.

During the June 31 council meeting, Gardner City Administrator Jim Pruetting mentioned how the council has discussed truck traffic issues on Cherokee Drive. One of the solutions was to double the truck route violation fines. However, the city must adopt an ordinance to do that. Prosecutors found no issue with doubling fines at a specific location or for violating all truck routes.

Higher fines will apply to all truck route violations.

The city plans to install additional and larger signs to inform truckers of the truck routes and violations.

“I think the best way to get somebody’s attention is to get in their back pocket,” council member Randy Gregorcyk said.

Council member Mark Baldwin asked whether the city has considered giving a warning for the first violation, $200 fine for the second and increasing exponentially to around $1,000 for subsequent violations. Baldwin was addressing habitual offenders of trucking companies that can easily afford the $200 fine. Officials have not considered that option, but said they are willing to look into it.

Mayor Steve Shute recognized the differences between independent owner-operators and larger carriers. He suggested to structure the fines in a way that punishes large carriers sufficiently while not hurting small business truckers.

“The biggest issue, I think, is that if you’re a small independent trucker, that could really hurt you,” Shute said. “But if you’re a larger firm like Schneider or something like that, it’s no big deal even with those larger amounts.”

The ordinance passed the first reading by unanimous decision and will be heard for a second reading at the next council meeting on July 19. However, Gardner officials said they would look into fine structuring in the meantime. LL

 

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Tyson Fisher joined Land Line Magazine in March 2014. An award-winning journalist and tireless researcher, his news reports, features and blogs bring depth to our editorial content, backed with solid detail. Tyson is a lifelong Kansas Citian.