On appeal from the Municipal Court, Woodbridge County.
This is an appeal from the Municipal Court of the Township of Woodbridge wherein the defendant, P. Saldutti and Son, was found guilty of violating N.J.S.A. 39:3-84. The statute provides for certain weight limitations as to trucks and trailers operating on public roads within the State of New Jersey, such limitation depending on the nature of the vehicle in question. The vehicle owned by the defendant in this case, when weighed at a state-operated scale, was found to weigh 82,000 pounds although the statutory limitation for the vehicle in question is 60,000 pounds. Thus there was an overweight of 22,000 pounds. The defendant admits the accuracy of these findings.
The defense offered by defendant is in effect two-fold:
1. That under the provisions of N.J.S.A. 39:3-84.3, there can be no conviction where the weight is determined through the use of scales other than public scales. The section of the statute invoked is as follows:
"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."
2. That there was in fact no violation in the instant case because of the exception contained in N.J.S.A. 39:3-84.3, reading as follows:
"No vehicle shall be deemed to be in violation of the overweight provisions of this act when, upon examination by an officer or inspector, the vehicle's dispatch papers show it is proceeding from its last preceding freight pick-up point within the State of New Jersey by a reasonably expeditious route to the nearest available scales or to the first available scales in the general direction towards which the vehicle has been dispatched, or is returning from such scales after weighing-in to the last preceding pick-up point."
It should be noted that the defendant has not claimed that in fact the scales used in the instant case were in any wise inaccurate. The essence of its claim is that the scales to be used under this statute must be public scales, no matter how accurate other scales may be. The factual situation disclosed by stipulation of the parties, entered into orally at the time of the trial, and the evidence submitted show that the defendant's vehicle was loaded at the plant of the Hayden Chemical Company located in the lowlands south of the spur of the Lehigh Valley Railroad, which spur runs from South Plainfield to Perth Amboy. The truck then proceeded from the plant into the community known as Fords, crossing the road between Metuchen and Perth Amboy variously known as New Brunswick Avenue and Amboy Avenue, and proceeded in a generally northeasterly direction along St. George's Avenue until the latter's intersection with Route 9. The truck then proceeded north on Route 9 to Gate No. 11 of the New Jersey Turnpike, and was there accosted by the arresting officers. The destination of the truck was a pier in Hoboken, which was to be reached by continuing through the cities of Elizabeth and Newark and thence on to Hoboken.
Upon being stopped by the arresting officers, the truck was taken with its driver north on Route 9 to the Woodbridge Circle on Route 1, and thence southwesterly a short
distance to a weighing station maintained by the State of New Jersey where the overweight was confirmed. This station is not ...