Connecticut governor wants more truck inspections

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In the wake of a fatal truck-bus collision, Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell has called for more truck inspectors and more truck inspections – on top of an existing campaign to decrease aggressive driving.

A July 29 collision between a dump truck and a commuter bus resulted in four deaths. Investigators have reported that the truck’s brakes failed and that the driver may have been at fault as well.

“It has come to my attention that the number of truck safety inspections conducted by the Department of Motor Vehicles in recent years – in particular, between 2001 and 2004 – has declined precipitously,” Rell wrote in a letter to the state Department of Motor Vehicles. “This applies to all forms of inspections: roadside, on-site and full. The decline is apparently due to budget cuts and attrition in staffing.”

The DMV has sent inspectors to the owners of the truck involved in that crash, American Crushing & Recycling of Bloomfield, and to 25 trucking companies or drivers with the highest number of violations since 2002, a list of which was released to the public. The governor ordered inspectors to examine all vehicles, cite every violation and demand correction before these vehicles return to use.

In 2003, there were 900 crashes on Connecticut roads involving large trucks, Rell said.

In 2004, the Connecticut Police Aggressive Driving Team stated that 33 percent of Connecticut crashes resulted from tailgating. That team issued 6,532 summonses during its first four months of effort, which included using nontraditional police vehicles such as Camaros to catch offenders.

In May 2005, Rell began a new campaign that targeted four-wheelers and truckers who tailgate. State Police and DMV inspectors say that nearly 10,000 summonses were issued to commercial vehicles in the first six months of 2005, which is 1,100 more than in the same period of 2004.

The fine for four-wheelers who tailgate is $93; for truckers, it’s $150.

Two state senators urged Rell on Aug. 9 to keep weigh stations open a minimum of 12 hours daily.