The city has settled a criminal case against a local trucking company charged with illegally hauling unsafe loads over Long Beach streets and freeways, the city prosecutor’s office announced today.
Western Maritime Express (WME) will pay $333,435 to settle charges that it violated weight limits and failed to have proper permits for overweight loads from June 2016 to April 2017, officials said. The company was ordered to pay $213,435 in court fines and fees to the Los Angeles Superior Court and $120,000 in restitution to the city for damage to roadways.
The case was handled by Deputy District City Prosecutor Pooja Kumar.
“This is the second time we have had to file a major case against a trucking company for carrying unsafe loads,” said Long Beach City Prosecutor Doug Haubert in a statement. “Although it appears most trucking companies comply with highway safety laws, we need to reinforce the message that egregious violators will be caught and prosecuted. And they will be held accountable.”
WME also pleaded no contest to 40 misdemeanor counts and three infraction charges alleged in two separate cases. Representatives will also meet with enforcement officials to improve compliance with weight rules in the future.
Since roads are engineered to specific weight limits, overweight vehicles create potholes and damage roads that can cause accidents, officials noted. These overweight vehicles also cannot stop quickly if traffic comes to an abrupt stop, potentially endangering the lives of motorists.
“Those trucking companies who haul illegal, unsafe loads may enjoy an unfair advantage over trucking companies who adhere to weight limits and absorb higher costs; consequently, strict enforcement of weight laws promotes fair competition,” officials said in a statement.