Benton Express Routinely Puts Overweight Rigs On The Road (says driver)


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OCALA - Vivian Bernard wasn't surprised when one of the tires under his tractor-trailer finally blew.

Working for Benton Express Inc.'s Ocala terminal, his company-owned truck was often over its legal weight coming back to Ocala, barreling down Interstate 75.

He said he complained to his bosses about the weight problem, about the truck being harder to handle because of the extra freight, about the danger to himself and other motorists. But in the end, he said, they didn't care. Besides, he needed the job, so he kept quiet and kept driving.

"When you have too much weight on a tire it sticks out like a fat man's belly," Bernard said about the blow-out three years ago. "You just hope you don't roll over.

"The tire blowing out sounds like a gun going off. It's like a firecracker in a tomato. It goes everyplace."

Luckily, no one was injured when the tire blew and Bernard drove his limping truck back to the Ocala terminal on Northwest Third Place with one less tire. He was still carrying all his freight on board.

Bernard told the Star-Banner that while working for Benton between 2003 and 2005, he made one or two trips between Ocala and Gainesville each week and his truck was overweight on almost every run. And because there are no truck weigh stations between the two cities, he said he was never caught.

You can bet that the DOT in Florida will be playing extra close attention to this company now.

And let me say now that I just hate the excuse "the company made me do it". No gun was put to your head, sir. You could have refused and saved the rest of us in the trucking industry the embarrassment of this news story.

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