The article this week will showcase a real Illinois town affectionately renamed as the “Village of Moneylust”. Even by its real name, most people have probably never heard of this Chicago suburb. It’s a bedroom community with no industry or retail tax base. Just a sleepy little hamlet with a state highway cutting through it. However, the nightmare of truck enforcement is haunting the diesel dreams of anyone passing through.
Quality truck enforcement is like a two-lane highway with a cliff on either side. The Illinois Truck Enforcement Association strives to see local law enforcement walk the center line…the perfect balance between protecting the public/infrastructure and protecting the industry. Ninety-nine point nine percent of towns stay between the guardrails, but every once in a while a town gets catawampus and plummets over the ledge.
What’s not quality? Truck enforcement performed unlawfully, with zero accountability, solely in the name of revenue enhancement. It’s embarrassing to the profession. It mocks civil liberty. It spits in the face of justice. It’s moneylust.
The best (and most truthful) truck cops in Illinois will tell you plenty of fine revenue can be generated simply by doing the job right. A police officer can make nothing but legitimate stops of trucks, use reasonable enforcement methodologies and best practices, and more than cover the manpower expense.
Corners do not need to be cut. Laws do not need to creatively interpreted or twisted out of all logical context. Unfortunately, only a very few desperate police departments trying to justify their own existence choose the low road, under the color of law, to soak the trucking industry for fines. It’s disgusting.
What is an example of moneylust? Here is a sampling (from the town mentioned in the first paragraph) which the ITEA had the sickening displeasure of reviewing this past fall.
Creating ordinances with excessive penalties not concurrent with the Illinois Vehicle Code, when the municipality does not have home rule authority, is moneylust.
Prosecuting traffic offenses through administrative adjudication, when clearly prohibited to do so by state law and binding opinions of the Illinois Appellate and Supreme Court, is moneylust.
Issuing adjudication/ordinance citations with no language on how to contest the citation or obtain a hearing date violates due process, is moneylust. Doing so in contradiction to the very ordinance (which ironically does not authorize truck citations) is egregious.
Arresting truckers for CDL violations when they clearly do not need a CDL, is moneylust.
Improperly classifying bogus misdemeanor CDL arrests as “no valid driver’s license” in an effort to assess $500 administrative tow fees, is moneylust.
Stopping trucks for “reason to believe” they exceed a local weight restriction is one thing. Fining them $500 when the statute clearly says a maximum fine of $50, is moneylust. Making it a $1000 fine after 10 days is perversion.
Requiring oversize or overweight permits for local weight restrictions (when the law clearly only authorizes locals to do so for weights exceeding the state law), is moneylust.
Failing to combine registered weights of a combination of vehicles, and citing only one of the vehicles for overweight on registration, is moneylust.
Weighing trucks on scales which are not certified by the Illinois Department of Agriculture, is moneylust.
Writing a sworn report saying the same scale is certified by the IDOA, when in fact it is not, is moneylust.
Prosecuting a trucker under misdemeanor state law for one charge, and under an (unlawful) ordinance for a second charge (to locally collect hundreds of dollars), when both charges arise from the same traffic stop, is moneylust.
Stopping a truck not displaying a company name (because it may be personally owned), and then asking questions in an attempt to classify the driver as a “commercial truck” (which has no definition…read HERE) is fruit of the poisonous tree. Fining them $200, or $400 after 10 days, is moneylust.
Writing overweight on gross weight citations in 2014 for exceeding the “non-designated” gross weight limits repealed in 2010, is moneylust.
It goes on. And on. And on. Dozens and dozens of drivers, sucked into a ruse with no way to fight back. Citations issued with the assumption the defendants do not know well enough to fight back.
Who’s training these officers? Who’s holding them accountable? The answer is “not the ITEA”.
The question which begs to be answered is this: if the enforcement of this town is so heinous, why are they not being mentioned by their real name?
The reason is because these are police officers. The ITEA will gladly welcome with them with open arms if they choose to humble themselves, acknowledge their wrongs, stop the racket and be accountable for their actions.
Otherwise they are just actors facing a certain judgment.
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