Advocates for truckers say the industry is being punished by a bill that cleared a panel of lawmakers on Thursday.

"It's punitive, on top of punitive, on top of punitive, and it's unsafe," Eric DeGesero said of the measure, before it sailed through the Assembly Transportation and Independent Authorities Committee.

DeGesero, speaking on behalf of the New Jersey Motor Truck Association, the New Jersey Propane Gas Association, and the Fuel Merchants Association of New Jersey, called the bill "terrible" and "stupid," and one that defies New Jersey's efforts to be considered a "logistics state."

Under the measure sponsored by Assembly Democrats Joseph Egan and Wayne DeAngelo, trucks weighing at least five tons would be banned from traveling in the left lane of state and toll roads that have at least two lanes traveling in the same direction. A fine for noncompliance can range from $200 to $600.

Under current New Jersey law, trucks need to stay out of the left lane on three-lane roadways, and the maximum fine is $300.

"We are very concerned that this type of restriction would hinder the efficient delivery of products," Mary Ellen Peppard, vice president of the New Jersey Food Council, told lawmakers.

Critics also slammed a portion of the bill that forces an offender to appear in court for a violation.

"I'm a truck driver in Utah, and I'm unaware of a stupid New Jersey law, and I have to come back and pay a fine?" DeGesero said.

The bill does not have a Senate companion.

Dino Flammia is a reporter for New Jersey 101.5. You can reach him at

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