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State v. Metropolitan Iron and Steel Co.

Decided: June 20, 1960.

STATE OF NEW JERSEY, PLAINTIFF-RESPONDENT,
v.
METROPOLITAN IRON AND STEEL CO., INC., DEFENDANT-APPELLANT



Appeal from judgment of the District Court of Bergen County (Traffic Division).

Brown, J.d.c. (temporarily assigned).

Brown

The defendant Metropolitan Iron & Steel Co., Inc. was charged with a violation of N.J.S.A. 39:3-84. It was convicted of this offense in a trial had before the Bergen County District Court.

All facts necessary for a decision have been stipulated or are undisputed.

On January 25, 1960 the defendant's tractor and semitrailer combination was operated on Route 46 in Palisades Park, having a combined weight of vehicle and load exceeding 60,000 pounds. The load was picked up in New York City. At the time of the arrest, the defendant's driver was en route from the George Washington Bridge to the nearest available scales in Bergen County. The arrest was not made in the course of a routine overloading check and because the trooper determined that weighing by portable scales at the intercept point would create a traffic hazard, he required the truck to be driven to scales owned and operated by the Lowe Paper Company at a place within 2 miles. The gross weight was there indicated to be 86,640 pounds.

It was further stipulated that the scales were maintained by the company for its business use. They were not generally available to the public, although the State was permitted

to use them for law enforcement purposes as in the present instance. The scales were last certified by State inspection on August 7, 1959 and were so inspected annually. The trooper who weighed the vehicle was a certified weighmaster.

The defendant first contends that the transaction is within the exception created by the third paragraph of N.J.S.A. 39:3-84.3. The load in question originated in New York City. It may be that the scales nearest available to the place of origin were actually the ones in Bergen County to which the vehicle was proceeding. There may have been no practical alternative to the route used by the defendant for the projected weighing-in. But the exception is so plainly limited by the Legislature to dispatch from a pick-up point within this State that the proviso cannot judicially be expanded.

There remains for determination the second contention of the defendant that the weight was not established in conformity with the requirements of N.J.S.A. 39:3-84.3 as specified in the following:

"Any State Police Officer or motor vehicle inspector having reason to believe that the size or weight of a vehicle and load is unlawful is authorized to require the driver to stop and submit to a measurement or weighing of the same by means of either portable or stationary scales and may require that such vehicle be driven to the nearest public scales in the event such scales are within 2 miles."

There appears to be no statutory definition of the term "public scales." The Weights and Measures law provides for the designation of a "public weighmaster." He is defined as one "who shall, for hire, weigh or measure any commodity, produce or article and issue therefor a weight certificate, which shall be accepted as the accurate weight, upon which the purchase or sale of such commodity is based." R.S. 51:1-73. Construction in pari materia suggests that the term "public scales" should ...


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