Long Beach City Prosecutor Doug Haubert’s office announced on Tuesday, Nov. 21 that the City has settled one of its largest criminal cases against a trucking company for illegally hauling unsafe loads over Long Beach streets and freeways, according to a press release.
Western Maritime Express, Inc. will pay a total of $333,435 to settle charges in regard to its violation of weight limits and its failure to have proper permits for overweight loads from June 2016 through April 2017. Specifically, Western Maritime Express, Inc. was ordered to pay a total of $213,435 in court fines and fees to the Los Angeles Superior Court and $120,000 in restitution to the City of Long Beach for damage to roadways.
“This is the second time we have had to file a major case against a trucking company for carrying unsafe loads,” Haubert said. “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.”
In addition to the payments, Western Maritime Express, Inc. pleaded “no contest” to 40 misdemeanor counts and three infraction charges, alleged in two separate cases. Western Maritime Express, Inc. representatives will also meet with enforcement officials in an effort to improve compliance with weight rules in the future.
Since roads are engineered to specific weight limits, overweight vehicles create potholes and damage to roads that can cause accidents, according to Haubert’s office. The press release also reads that trucking companies who haul illegal, unsafe loads may have an unfair advantage over trucking companies who adhere to weight limits and absorb higher costs. The City believes that a strict enforcement of weight laws promotes fair competition.
In April 2012, City Prosecutor Haubert settled a case with Pacific Coast Container, Inc., an Oakland-based trucking company, which was ordered to pay a total of $460,000 in fines and restitution. In that case, Pacific Coast Container, Inc. was convicted on 47 misdemeanor counts. One of the charges was for transporting a load more than 19,000 pounds over the legal limit.
Deputy City Prosecutor Pooja Kumar handled the present case.
Source: Haubert’s office