Letter: Truckers are getting away

On behalf of many “road warriors” and damage to our vehicles, I want to share pertinent excerpts from Colorado Revised Statute 42-4-1407 about “covered loads.”

2.5a: “No vehicle shall be driven or moved on any highway for a distance of more than two miles if the vehicle is transporting aggregate material with a diameter of one inch or less unless: I — The load is covered by a tarp or other cover in a manner that prevents the aggregate material from blowing, dropping, sifting, leaking, or otherwise escaping from the vehicle, or II — The vehicle utilizes other technology that prevents the aggregate material from blowing, dropping, sifting, leaking, or otherwise escaping from the vehicle.”

2.7a: “‘Aggregate material’ means any rock, clay, silts, gravel, limestone, dimension stone, marble and shale, except that ‘aggregate material’ does not include hot asphalt, including asphalt patching material, wet concrete or other materials not susceptible to blowing.”

I often see truckers in violation, but how frequently is this law enforced, with violators easily spotted? How best to report infractions? Should violators’ insurance cover damages even with the disclaimers of “not responsible for broken windshields”?

Another “windshield rumination” relates to fuel taxes and the Federal Highway Trust fund. In place is an exemption for “off-highway fuels” from paying combined federal and state fuel taxes. Included is “dyed diesel” and the associated tax avoidance of around 46 cents per gallon. I’ve wondered how many “on-highway” vehicles evade these taxes, many benefiting from construction projects funded with these taxes, and all using and impacting our roadways. Collectively these uncollected tax revenues could provide needed funding for maintenance, infrastructure investment, creating more jobs and economic stimulus.

Research from 2008 estimated that from $1 million to $10 billion annually nationwide was not collected from evaders. Then, Arizona fuel-fraud officers collected over $3 million from evaders. In Colorado, enforcement responsibility is with the State Patrol and local law enforcement for the Department of Revenue and the IRS. With reduced Highway Trust funds and congressional gridlock for renewal or expansion, enforcement should be prioritized to assist with funding shortfalls for needed and overdue projects.

Greg Jeung

Glenwood Springs