People v. Bohm

CourtNew York Villiage Court
Citation399 N.Y.S.2d 577,92 Misc.2d 344
Decision Date03 November 1977
PartiesThe PEOPLE of the State of New York v. Robert C. BOHM, Defendant.

Page 577

399 N.Y.S.2d 577
92 Misc.2d 344
The PEOPLE of the State of New York
v.
Robert C. BOHM, Defendant.
Village Court of Rockville Centre, Town of Hempstead, Nassau County.
Nov. 3, 1977.

Robert C. Bohm, in pro per.

Louis Milone, Jr., for the People.

ALBERT A. RUBIN, Village Justice.

The question in this case is whether a covering is required on a load which technically complies with the language of the statute but is placed in the carrier in such a manner so as to violate the obvious intent of this law.

On August 3, 1977, Robert C. Bohm received a summons for an alleged violation of Section 380-a of the Vehicle and Traffic Law. Section 380-a(1) states:

"It shall be unlawful to operate on any public highway any open truck or trailer being utilized for the transportation of earth, sand, stone or similar loose substances, unless said truck or trailer has a cover, tarpaulin or other device of a type and specification approved by the commissioner of transportation which completely closes in the opening of the said truck or trailer while said truck or trailer shall be so operated, so as to prevent the falling of any such substances therefrom. However, if the load is six inches below the top of the sides of such truck, the covering is not necessary."

The facts are not in dispute. The patrolman testified that he stopped the defendant who was driving a huge sand and gravel truck and issued a summons to him because the contents of the truck were not covered with a tarpaulin as required under Section 380-a. Defendant contended that a tarpaulin was not required because the contents of the carrier were six inches below the sides of the truck. He offered to assist the policeman in climbing up to the top of the truck so that the policeman could see that the load was six inches below the sides. This offer was refused by the patrolman, who said he could see the top of the load from where he was standing and that it was far above the sides of the truck. The officer stated that the sides of truck itself were 4 feet high and many feet over his head but that he would still see the sand or dirt in the truck and "the sand was piled up" and crested in the middle.

Page 578

The same point is emphasized by the testimony of the defendant who, when describing his conversation with the policeman at the time of the issuance of the summons, stated:

" . . . he said where's your cover and I said the load is below the sides and I tried to explain to him the rule...

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