Many Texans may be on a diet, but the trucks on their highways certainly aren't.
A record 58,514 oversize/overweight permits were issued in January, according to the Texas Department of Motor Vehicles. The previous one-month high was 57,139, in August, the agency said Tuesday.
At the current pace, Texas could issue about 700,000 permits during fiscal 2012, which ends Aug. 31, a department spokesman said. Last year, 590,980 such permits were issued to trucks -- less than 1 percent of the state's truck traffic.
Those permits generated $114 million for state coffers to offset the cost of at least some wear and tear on the highways.
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In August, the state launched the Texas Permitting and Routing Optimization System, which allows haulers to secure permits round-the-clock.
The automated system now issues more than 60 percent of permits, department spokesman Adam Shaivitz said.
Permits may be on the rise because the new system is quick and easy for haulers to use, an official said, and it lessens the motivation to cheat.
"There was a time when carriers might have waited several hours to get a permit, and for them time is money," said Jean Beeman, manager of the department's business services section. "If they felt they were waiting too long, they could possibly just go without it, and we would not know about it unless by happenstance they got stopped by police.
"Carriers can now go on at midnight and put in specifics for their load, get their permits right there and get their routes."
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