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Within a recent eight-hour span, nine people were cited and one person was arrested for failure to comply with the state truck tarpaulin law, according to Bauxite police.
"The goal is to cut down the trash that is getting on the roadways," Police Chief Ron Parsons said. "Anytime we see anyone with uncovered loads of trash, they will be subject to being stopped and cited."
The Saline County Regional Solid Waste Management District and Republic Services are working in conjunction with the city of Bauxite in this effort. Parsons said warnings noting that the crackdown would begin on March 1 were sent to residents. Other notifications were made through fliers, by word of mouth, and a Feb. 11 story that appeared in The Saline Courier.
Unfortunately, nine citations on March 1 were issued by Bauxite police to people who broke the law that states: "It shall be unlawful for any persons engaged in commercial or for-hire hauling to operate any truck or other vehicle within the state to transport litter, trash, or garbage unless the vehicle is covered to prevent its contents from blowing, dropping, falling off or otherwise departing from the vehicle."
The arrest was for a man found with a warrant out of Lafayette County. Parsons said the man had a failure to appear warrant for failure to pay on a suspended driver's license; he was also cited for driving on a suspended driver's license in a commercial vehicle.
"It's actually been a law for a while, but in the past it wasn't enforced," Parsons said. "We are changing that and most people may not realize that it costs the city money to haul off the trash collected from the roadways."
Michael Grappe, executive director of the SCRSWMD, also said that the "district has not enforced it" either.
"Professional haulers that collect fees to transport solid waste to the landfill for disposal must have tarps on their vehicles," Grappe said. "Failure to cover vehicles is a safety issue. People easily swerve into oncoming traffic, to avoid trash."
He added, "I will cite violators on the first offense. The second time, offenders will have their license revoked. If they are not licensed, heavy penalties will be imposed and we will pursue litigation."
According to the Arkansas code, violators "shall be deemed guilty of a misdemeanor." If convicted, the person shall be subject to imprisonment for up to 30 days, or a fine not to exceed $1000, or both imprisonment and fine.
"Our intent is not to write a bunch of tickets, I just want people to abide by the law and avoid citations," Grappe said.
Act 752 of 1991 requires that all Regional Solid Waste Management Boards permit all haulers who are engaged in collection or transportation of solid waste in their district.
In order to be in compliance with the law, haulers must complete an application for the permit and their vehicle or fleet must pass a visual inspection. Once payment of the permit fee is received, each registered vehicle will be provided with a permit to collect and transport solid waste in the district.
Despite several people being cited, Parsons said that residents and city alderman "have been supportive" of the crackdown.
"The bottom line is, just cover your load," he said.
Trash collectors can call the SCRSWMD at 501-776-2533 if they have questions or need assistance in completing the application.
Courier reporter Tammy Shaw contributed to this account.