In an already traffic congested area, the city of Tyler is having problems with 18 wheelers filling up its streets. Two years ago, Tyler started a Truck Route Ordinance, requiring truck drivers to use the loop instead of going downtown through residential neighborhoods.
You've probably seen the signs that read Truck Route, and not thought much about it, but if you're a truck driver, you better do what it says. One truck driver decided to take a short cut through the Azalea District this morning, and was pulled over by police. Police say they've heard all kinds of excuses.
"We've had truck drivers say well I saw the sign, but the directions I got from my company indicate I should go this direction through here," said Sergeant Herbert Hayter, Tyler Police Department. This truck driver admits he made a mistake.
"I come through here 100 times, and I tried to get over, but I couldn't get over because of the cars and you know I messed up," said the driver Terry Bowdoin. "I knew better." Bowdoin is just one of more than a 100 truck drivers stopped by Tyler Police in the past two weeks. It's part of an investigation called Operation 18 Wheeler.
"We're hoping to educate the truckers that are passing through that we do have a truck route and they do need to observe it," said Kirk Houser, Traffic Engineer for city of Tyler. The city is also working with TxDOT to make the truck route signs more visible.
"The attention of the average driver and average trucker is on the signage that is right up on the intersection, so we are going to make the signage at the intersection better," said Houser. Other signs will also go up throughout residential neighborhoods, reminding truck drivers they are not on the truck route. Today, at least one truck driver says he's learned his lesson.
"Do the right thing," said Bowdoin. "I tried to do the right thing, but that's the way it goes." Right now, Tyler police are giving out warnings and will be for several more weeks. Eventually, officers say they will start issuing $200.00 tickets for violators.