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TCD issues reminder to truckers

Risks on Bermuda's roads are being heightened by large construction vehicles taking up space and slowing traffic during rush hours when they are officially bannned, motorists have warned.

The Transport Control Department is contacted every week by people witnessing unsafe practices as motorists try to overtake tractor trailers and building machinery.

A reminder has been issued to the owners of these vehicles that they are banned from using roads during peak times on weekdays. The prohibition is in place between 7.45am and 9.15am, as well as 4.30pm and 6pm, every Monday to Friday. A government spokeswoman explained: “The TCD has received concerns about the number of self-propelled construction machines and tractor trailers, especially those over 20ft, on the road during rush hour.”

Motorists contact the department weekly with complaints or concerns, including being late for work or students missing connections to school buses because of slow-moving vehicles holding up traffic.

Some see dangerous manoeuvres by drivers and riders trying to overtake slow vehicles, sometimes resulting in accidents.

Others highlight the risks posed when motorists become frustrated at congested traffic, which can lead to road rage.

Incidents span a number of parishes, including Devonshire, Paget, Warwick, Southampton and Hamilton Parish.

The government spokeswoman said the guidance also came as part of phase one of the five-year Operation Caution road safety plan to reduce the number of crashes on the island.

Among its “active learning” goals, the scheme aims to ensure “increased awareness of traffic provisions, namely tractor trailers and licence plates, and the restrictions of their use”.

She said regulations around licence plates will be addressed next week.

With regards to the tractor trailers and self-propelled construction machines, which are used for building and maintenance work, she added: “The restrictions are included as a condition for operating a commercial vehicle under a commercial vehicle permit.”

While the Minister of Transport can grant approval to operate inside of the prohibited hours “for specific projects or events”, the restrictions apply when that special permission period ends.

Charles Dunstan, the Construction Association of Bermuda president, thought some operators might show a general “lax attitude towards the law” and a government advisory could serve as a “friendly reminder”.

He said: “Even when I'm driving, in and around rush hours, I occasionally come across a vehicle that, to my understanding, is not supposed to be on the road.”

Joseph Sousa, a part owner of D&J Construction Company, argued the regulations were unfair on hauliers. He said: “It's really going to affect us with the transportation off the docks.”

Mr Sousa continued: “When we're leaving the docks after 8.30am, we're going out of Hamilton, we're not coming into town and we don't hold up traffic.

“The things that I would agree hold up traffic are the cranes and stuff of that nature, that move a little slower.”

He said if the trucks cannot operate between 7.45am and 9.15am, and the dock's loading hours are from 8am until 4pm, which can also incorporate a lunch break, the time in which his team can work is limited.

The restriction does not apply to container trucks when no container or container trailer is attached.

For more information, contact the TCD on 292-1271

The Transport Control Department (File photograh)

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Published September 29, 2018 at 9:00 am (Updated September 29, 2018 at 8:36 am)

TCD issues reminder to truckers

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