Truck drivers ticketed by police for venturing off the city’s designated truck routes will face a much stiffer fine under a change to the traffic ordinance.
The Crawfordsville City Council voted 5-1 Monday to increase the penalty for a citation to $2,500, up from $100. Council member Jeff Lucas cast the “no” vote and member Jennifer Lowe was absent.
The fine was raised after residents, especially on the city’s west side, complained about trucks damaging their yards while attempting to turn around on residential streets.
Police will have discretion under the ordinance when to cite a driver, Mayor Todd Barton said.
The size of the enhanced punishment drew questions about whether repeat offenders should be fined more than first-time violators. The original language put the fine at up to $2,500 without setting a designated amount.
“I guess I wonder, what is the benefit of making it $2,500 and taking away all of our flexibility to adjust to the situation, versus leaving it where it’s flexible and practices can be the same,” councilman Ethan Hollander asked before the vote.
Barton proposed establishing a flat fine and “not ask us to be in the situation of making that call.”
Councilman Mike Reidy said a “strong punishment” would encourage truck drivers to stay on the marked roads, which are listed in the traffic schedules ordinance.
Lucas said he supports the higher fine as a deterrent, but that it creates a large gap between the penalties for other traffic violations.
Fines for traffic code violations are capped at $100 unless another penalty is specified.
“We really need to look at that legislation and increase the fines across the board,” Lucas said after the meeting.