Stop the Trucks

Whitestone residents have had it with truckers who illegally drive down residential streets. The trucks that barrel down the tree-lined streets are noisy, rattle foundations and present a real danger to children playing in the area.

The Greater Whitestone Taxpayer Association was joined by City Councilman Tony Avella last week to protest the trucks. They say that the trucks are not making local deliveries and often include 18-wheel tractor trailers. They are angry and rightfully so.

If there are as many trucks as they say, then it should not be that difficult for the 109th Precinct to address the problem. If the NYPD assigned a team in an unmarked car to pull over every truck that travels illegally down the residential streets, the word would soon get out. The drivers who get multiple tickets for the same offense already face stiffer fines and points. When it becomes too costly to drive down these streets, the drivers will stop.

In addition, the GWTA might consider taking pictures and writing down the license numbers and names of the companies that own the trucks. It could then go directly to the offending companies and confront them with the evidence. It is likely that some companies are unaware that drivers are taking these illegal shortcuts.

As much as we support the cause, however, we do not agree with Avella, who in 2006 asked state politicians to amend the traffic law to allow police to confiscate a truck if the driver has been convicted of three violations of the city's truck route rules within an 18-month period. He maintains that this “would send a powerful message to these companies and drivers that we are no longer going to tolerate illegal truck traffic.”

Such a change would be overkill. The goal is to curtail abusive behavior, not to put people out of work or bring businesses to their knees. There are better ways to put teeth in the existing legislation. Enforcing it would be a good beginning.

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