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State auditors criticize weigh station operation hours

September 25, 2003
By: Stephanie Hockridge
State Capital Bureau

State auditors catch government employees exaggerating vehicle counts to keep certain weigh stations open. Stephanie Hockridge has the story.

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Missouri auditors found two weigh stations reporting an inconsistent number of vehicles weighed.

Auditors say that employees inflated the truck counts because they were concerned that the weigh stations would close because of lack of activity.

State Auditor Claire McCaskill says that catching state employees not doing their job is serious stuff.

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"AT THESE BUDGET TIMES, IF YOU HAVE STATE EMPLOYEES NOT BEING TRUTHFUL ABOUT WORKLOAD, IT'S A BIG DEAL."

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McCaskill says that before the audit no one was looking at weigh stations with a careful eye and now this situation will force them to do so.

From the State Capitol, I'm Stephanie Hockridge.Date:9/25/03

By: Stephanie Hockridge

State Capital Bureau

State auditors say that weigh stations with predictable hours promote truckers to break the law. Stephanie Hockridge has the story.

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State and federal laws state that trucks cannot weigh more than 80,000 pounds.

The law further specifies penalties for such weight violations.

State Auditor Claire McCaskill says that drivers of overweight trucks know how to avoid such penalties.

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"YOU CANT JUST HAVE WEIGH STATIONS OPEN CERTAIN HOURS AND NOT THINK THAT TRUCKS ARE GOING TO BE RUNNING THROUGH HERE KNOW THAT AND THAT THEY COME THROUGH OVERWEIGHT AT TIMES THEY KNOW THAT IT'S VERY UNLIKELY THAT THEY'RE EVER GOING TO BE WEIGHED."

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In addition, McCaskill says that it is important to have aggressive enforcement of weight limits because it is the big, overweight trucks that are tearing up Missouri roads.

From the state Capitol, I'm Stephanie Hockridge.Date:9/25/03

By: Stephanie Hockridge

State Capital Bureau

Despite criticism from the State Auditor, the Missouri State Highway Patrol doesn't plan to make any changes regarding operation hours of weigh stations. Stephanie Hockridge has the story.

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State Auditor Claire McCaskill says that predictable operation hours for weigh stations promote truckers to break the law.

She says that drivers of overweight trucks know how to avoid the penalties for such a violation.

But Chief Spokesmen for the Missouri Highway Patrol Capt. Chris Ricks says that no changes will be made.

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"WE'RE NOT GOING TO MAKE ANY RIGHT NOW BECAUSE WE HAVE OUR WEIGHT STATIONS SET UP SO THAT THERE ARE SOME NIGHTS WHEN THEY'RE OPEN. IT'S NOT VERY OFTEN BECAUSE THE VOLUME OF TRAFFIC AFTER TEN O'CLOCK AT NIGHT FOR TRUCK TRAFFIC GOES REALLY REALLY DOWN."

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Ricks adds that having limited resources mean that employees work during the day where the volume of traffic is the heaviest.

From the state Capitol, I'm Stephanie Hockridge.