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Commissioner urges citizens to report mis-use of county roads by semi drivers

I would guess that many of you reading this Commissioner article have, or at least, are familiar with GPS devices.    I would also bet that many of you that use GPS actually have a name for your unit.  Patty and I call ours “Nancy."  Her full name is “Nancy Nagivator”…..NOT navigator, NAGIVATOR.  It seems like she’s constantly telling us to “Do a U Turn NOW” or her famous “RECALCULATING."   Sure we can make her speak a language other than English, but she never changes the “tone” of her voice.
Seriously, I don’t think we could travel without a GPS any longer.  It has been a wonderful addition to our lives but just like they used to say about computers…. "garbage in – garbage out” and that is the subject that I want to talk about in this article.
Let’s say you want to drive your semi to SDI’s loading area.  You should put something like 2600 S 800 E in the GPS.  But….what if you put 2600 E 800 S in instead?  You end up in the yard of a very nice man but one who is tired of semis in his yard.  He even put a sign in his yard stating that “This is NOT SDI."
Other complaints that I’ve received are from residents in the southeast area of Whitley County where semis, most with 53’ trailers, are directed by their GPS to use our county roads as a shortcut or a Coesse resident who’s life is often disturbed by semis mistakenly taking his road and driving through his yard, uprooting large rocks placed to protect his property.  Large semis with 48’-53’ trailers just can’t maneuver 90 degree turns on most of our county roads.  When they try, they either hit fence posts or drive into the side ditches.
This creates a real dilemma for our county personnel.  First of all, we don’t have enough police officers to patrol every road in the area where the problems are let alone all areas of the county.  Even if we did, we can’t “ban” big trucks or semis because our farmers really need to use the roads as well.  But let me make it clear, it is NOT our local farmers that are creating the problems. It’s GPS devices in trucks telling the driver on SR 14 or 114 that to make a delivery to Park 30 Industrial Park that it’s much quicker to use County Road 500 E and go through Coesse.  GPS units (at least right now) have no capability of telling drivers not to use county roads.  In researching this article I did find that the U.S. Department of Transportation/Federal Motor Carrier Administration is working on a program that will warn truckers of low bridges, etc but for now….nothing.  Also they want to make it mandatory for all newly trained truck drivers to be trained in the use of GPS devices.
You can help us with this problem by noting anytime you see a semi that is inappropriately using one of county roads.  What is “appropriate use of county roads?"  That’s when a truck is delivering an item to a home on that road.  Inappropriate is when they are using the road as a shortcut. Try to get the name of the trucking company and a tractor number or trailer number if possible.  I vow to call the trucking companies every time one is reported.  My friend that lives in Coesse, who is struggling with errant semis, called a company himself.  He even took a picture of the truck and truck number.  The trucking company has agreed to reimburse him for damages done to his yard.  While that’s good, what if the damage was more severe like a hurting a child?
I’m serious when I tell you I want to know about every misuse of our county roads by semis.  Please feel free to call me at 609-2833 or email me at [email protected].  Remember, “a picture is worth a thousand words." 
I used SDI as an example in an earlier paragraph because most of the trucks that we are having trouble with are empty and inbound to SDI to get a load of steel.  I want all our citizens to know that SDI is aware of the situation and they are working very closely with us to help alleviate the problem. The problem didn’t happen overnight and we can’t make it go away overnight but with your help we can make it better!  Thanks for your anticipated cooperation.

Don Amber, Commissioner


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