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Permit Jumping

Have you ever been to a sporting event and seen people move up to better seats than they paid for? Maybe you are that person! Usually the usher approaches them and makes the person return to their rightful seats. Rarely does the person get kicked out of the event. Trucking companies who move oversize or overweight items sometimes have to move up to a larger permit depending on the load. So what happens when a truck with a limited continuous operation permit has their single trip permit voided?

When a company regularly transports large pieces of equipment, they will purchase a limited continuous operation (LCO) permit from the Illinois Department of Transportation. This permit allows them to move a piece of equipment on almost any state route almost anytime they need to. The maximum weight an LCO permit allows is 120,000 pounds.

A company who has an LCO but has a piece of equipment larger than 120,000 pounds will need to purchase a single or round trip permit. The single or round trip permit tells a company where they may drive, and what the load consists of.

When a truck is stopped by a police officer, and that officer finds the permit to be void, that officer should use the valid LCO permit for the overweight ticket. For instance, if a truck has a permit for 140,000 pounds, and the load is more than a mile off its route on a state highway, the permit becomes void.

The truck driver produces a valid LCO permit which allows for 120,000 pounds and meets the criteria for that permit, except for the weight. A police officer takes the truck to the scale and finds it to be 132,000 pounds. Instead of dropping the allowed weight to 80,000 pounds and writing a 52,000-pound overweight, the officer must drop the allowed weight to 120,000 pounds and only write a 12,000-pound overweight.

Mistakes happen, and a trucking company that has paid for a permit, and then purchased another permit for additional weight should not be punished excessively for that mistake. Had the trucking company not made the effort to purchase the additional permit, the officer would use the LCO permit to issue the overweight ticket anyway. So why punish someone for trying to do the right thing?

This is not an opening for someone to try and get away with not obtaining a permit. The fines for being overweight on permit can still be high, even if they start at 120,000 pounds. Any attempt to cheat could end up with the state not issuing a permit to you in the future.

The ultimate goal in law enforcement is voluntary compliance. A police officer should recognize an error and only enforce the law as is reasonable. A truck driver should make sure they are following the rules and not cutting corners. By doing these things, everyone can enjoy the game from the seats they rightfully paid for.

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