Tuesday, August 16, 2016

Another trucker stuck in Smugglers’ Notch. Seriously?

“Sign, sign, everywhere a sign
Blockin’ out the scenery, breakin’ my mind
Do this, don’t do that, can’t you read the sign?”

These lyrics to the Five Man Electrical Band song “Signs” probably have a whole new meaning within the Vermont State Police department every time a trucker gets stuck on hairpin turn or twisty road at Smugglers’ Notch. Despite increased fines and all the signs, it has happened again.

Two of several signs warning truckers near Smugglers' Notch.
(Photos courtesy of Vermont State Police)
In May, I reported on bill H876 in Vermont, which would increase fines from $162 to $1,000 for any trucker who gets stuck at Smugglers’ Notch on Vermont Route 108. Tractor-trailers have been prohibited from using the road due to the extremely tight turns on the narrow roadway. Since the problem kept popping up, lawmakers hoped the significantly increased fines would get drivers to turn around.

I wrote that story before the bill was signed by the governor in June. When speaking with Col. Jake Elovirta, director of Vermont Department of Motor Vehicles’ Enforcement and Safety Division, I could tell he was annoyed by the situation.

“It seems like no matter how much education we try to do or reach out or signage, we’re having an issue specific to tractor-trailers,” Col. Elovirta told me in May.

The very next day after speaking with Elovirta, he sent me an email notifying me of another stuck trucker within the previous 24 hours.

On June 2, Gov. Shumlin signed H876. As of July, any trucker caught driving on Vermont Route 108 in Smugglers’ Notch can be fined $1,000, up from $162. If the incident causes major traffic delays, that fine can increase to $2,000. Second and subsequent convictions within a three-year period will double the fines.

Apparently, it didn’t do much.

A trucker and his 53-foot trailer were found stuck on Monday, Aug. 15, blocking traffic on both sides for more than an hour. Consequently, he was fined the full $2,000. According to a Vermont State Police press release, the trucker passed three signs in addition to an electronic message sign that explicitly informs truckers they are banned on Route 108.

Wow.

18 comments:

  1. With these new drivers out here texting and talking on the phone ALL THE TIME who has time to read all those signs!!!!!! IDIOTS...

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  2. Problems. Signs are in English, a language drivers are no longer required to be comversant in. GPS units can't read, in spite of them mounted so a driver can't see the zigns.

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  3. let me explain how i feel about this. they are not truck drivers they only hold the steering wheel and read the GPS and keep the seat warm. these are the kind of so called drivers the schools are putting out now days.I would suggest that along with 2,000.00 fine they should spend a week in jail, maybe that will get their attention

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    1. You sound like an Idiot blaming CDL schools for drivers messing up. A CDL school does nothing more then prep you to pass a state CDL test nothing more. Thats what driver trainers are for at company level. You so called drivers love to talk trash about school and the people who come out of them and yet you dont even know what they do.

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  4. Maybe after the signs they need to build turn arounds. Last week I was going down a legal road to come to anan intersection that was marked that I couldn't turn left, right nor go straight ahead. What do you do?

    So these drivers find the sign, and from looking at the road by the sign a u turn is not possible, so they go ahead trying to find a place to turn around. It looks like they created a problem with no solution.

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    1. Yours is one of the correct responses on this thread...
      I don't know about this particular area, but 30 years OTR has shown me that about %90 of the time the warning signs are emplaced AFTER it's too late to turn around! And then the cops get all bent out of shape when they are not even aware of the reason for the problem! Guess it's true you can't fix stupid.

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  5. "Mud Flap" BrackettAugust 16, 2016 at 8:12 PM

    Half of all truckers are responsible, reasonably intelligent people. The other half are seriously stupid. Half of those are terminally stupid. Pre-employment testing should include an IQ test and a psych evaluation to catch these idiots before they're unleashed on society.

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  6. mud flap, I couldn't have said it better! Unfortunately the second part of the fifty percent you're referring to won't read your comment, or, if they do, their to stupid to realize your talking to them....

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  7. I agree with anonymous. I've been driving almost 30 years and I have been in a similar situation, except the sign wasn't visible because of traffic congestion as I approached the turn I thought I was supposed to make. I was watching all the 4 wheelers and missed the sign until I was right next to it, but it was already too late. I stopped, and fortunately a local cop showed up very quickly and helped me back onto the road.
    I think they should have turnarounds just beyond the signs up to Smugglers Notch. I think they were probably trying to find a safe place to turn around. Also. It works be helpful if signs were put up well before a no truck road instead of after you've made the turn. Had that happen with some short bridges, and no, I didn't hit them.
    Ever missed a turn and have to drive several miles before you can find a safe place to turn around. Very aggravating.

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  8. I agree with anonymous. I've been driving almost 30 years and I have been in a similar situation, except the sign wasn't visible because of traffic congestion as I approached the turn I thought I was supposed to make. I was watching all the 4 wheelers and missed the sign until I was right next to it, but it was already too late. I stopped, and fortunately a local cop showed up very quickly and helped me back onto the road.
    I think they should have turnarounds just beyond the signs up to Smugglers Notch. I think they were probably trying to find a safe place to turn around. Also. It works be helpful if signs were put up well before a no truck road instead of after you've made the turn. Had that happen with some short bridges, and no, I didn't hit them.
    Ever missed a turn and have to drive several miles before you can find a safe place to turn around. Very aggravating.

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  9. Atlas, signs and mirrors are your best friend out on the road....pay attention

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  10. "Asphalt Cowboy "
    It sounds like the ones making negative comments are the idiots!!!

    It really sounds like people like Texas bullsnake is a 4 wheeler steering wheel holder or should I say giving drives a bad name!

    I have been a professional Driver for over 20 years and I see some stupid mistakes by drivers but I really think you should focus on our government, training schools and large trucking companies like Warner Inc. New drivers are not getting the training they need and big companies are wanting to fill their truck at cheap rates.

    One thing is for sure those that are new to truck driving they at least are trying to work and not selling drugs and committing crimes on the public.
    Maybe if one has the chance to help these less experienced drives we can make the industry better.

    Thanks

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  11. One question, could the driver speak and understand English ? Or maybe that was 2 questions.

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  12. Before belittling this driver, I would like to know if there is someplace to turn a 53 ft trailer around between those signs??? That picture looks like an awfully remote area, and with that being said, I know I've come across areas prohibiting trucks and I had to go quite a way to find a turn around. Secondly, not all "No Trucks Allowed" roads have been updated in the atlas, gps, etc. so a driver from say California wouldn't know the local road closures to trucks laws until they got upon them. And last but not least, not everyone reads industry news, I personally get highly pissed off when I read how my rights are striped behind someone who eats, sleeps and shits just like I do and has no clue what it takes to be an over the road driver. So I avoid a lot of new media to keep my stress level in check. Just saying....

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  13. Put a low clearance device up before they can enter the pass, this will make it so they have a PHYSICAL WARNING that they are going to be in a piss bucket of hell if they proceed. Then they will accept fate, call the police, and back up for 5 miles to the first turn around.

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  14. Who needs signs to blame when a proper trip planning session with the help of your Atlas would keep you out of this situation all together ... been driving for 10 yrs and doing a proper trip plan has kept m from having to blame sign placement and/or the lack of a turn-a-round

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  15. I see the very experienced in this thread are nailing it. I've personally too have entered on of these turns to find a, "NO TRACTOR TRAILERS" sign 2 and 3 tenths of a mile AFTER the turn and only because of IMPROPER construction routes rerouting traffic.

    Proper signs preventing trucks BEFORE is the problem in 99% of these situations. Cities and towns need to do this like 95% of the rest of the country does. They are at fault and blaming truckers. It's obvious that it happens all the time but they are either ignorant to the trucking industry or scheming the system.

    Lastly, more than 50% of truck driverso use Google Maps. THIS IS FOR CARS ONLY! Use Google Maps to help you blow up the area or to plug in another address next door to the place you are going if your trucker GPS is not locating what you ask for. Then, copy that address to now punch it that nearby building in your trucker GPS and you'll be fine.

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  16. So why does routing GPS software not identify the road as having a restriction - like 'no vehicles over 12' height' or 'no vehicle over 10 tons'. The restriction should be 'no vehicle longer than 30', and it would catch RVers with trailers too. I am assuming that GPS routing that is designed for truckers has asked the driver for his dimensions, and routes you accordingly. I also agree with the type and placement of signs - does not get the drivers attention.

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