Coal trucks often running in violation of tarp requirement
by Sheldon Compton
PRINTER Everett Nichols has been dealing with coal dust for more months than he cares to remember. And though he once worked in the coal mines, he doesnt now. So why the problem?
Coal trucks bringing loads from across Hunter Bridge near his home in Printer are traveling numerous routes a day without tarps that Nichols says go against written laws for hauling coal.
Im not saying people shouldnt work, said Nichols. I want to see people work and better themselves, but they should obey the laws. These trucks are making all kinds of trips right past my house and breaking the law by not having tarps.
The state police, who Nichols contacted some months ago, agree, as far as the letter of the law goes.
Trucks have to be tarped if the load is suceptible to spillage, said Kentucky State Police Commercial Enforcement Officer Lucas Salyer. That means anything over the bed of the truck that could come out over the bed.
So how do officers apply this law? Salyer said the general idea is to keep a watch on the lip of the truck bed.
Our unwritten rule is that if we can see the coal above the bed, then its in violation, Salyer said.
But Nichols said Monday afternoon he has contacted numerous offices and agencies, as well as local officials, in hopes of seeing the truckers cover their haul properly and keep the dust at bay.
Monday afternoon he wiped coal dust from the inside of his car with a napkin. He said its something he has to do frequently, and inside the house is the same. As for the sides of his home, which rests just feet from Route 122 where the coal is being hauled, Nichols said he has wash it down three times more often than most owners to keep the coal dust off.
In the summer its worse, he said. You can see the dust blowing off. That dust comes in through the heating and cooling unit. Ive called everybody I can think of, even state mine inspectors.
Nichols said the mine inspector offered a pretty grim observation when he last talked with him.
He said that they could write them up, but that the company would just absorb it and go on, said Nichols. I told him to do his job. Its just not right. Im all for working, but this stuff is everywhere and these trucks need to be tarped.
Monday afternoon, in the span of about a half-hour, five or six trucks passed Nichols home with only one tarped. With several of these loads the coal could be seen above the bed of the truck.
Nichols pointed one out just as a vehicle enforcement cruiser passed it coming from the other direction. The officer waved from the drivers window. They probably know me at this point, he said, laughing.
Salyer, who often works more in the Pike County area, said he couldnt be sure if there had been citations written at the Hunter Bridge location near Nichols home but that records would reflect if that had been the case.
In the next few days we can pull records and see if any activity has been in that area, said Salyer.
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