‘Hall of Shame’ proposed for Connecticut trucking firms

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Connecticut Attorney General Richard Blumenthal has called for state officials to create a “Hall of Shame,” a list to be posted online along with all safety violations logged against every commercial truck and trucking company in the state, according to the Associated Press. “Consumers ought to have that information costlessly and conveniently so they can make informed choices,” he told the AP.

Commercial trucking safety has gained heightened attention in Connecticut since last summer, when four people died and 19 were injured in a fiery crash at the base of Avon Mountain. A dump truck with a history of safety violations was blamed for barreling out of control and striking a line of cars and a commuter bus.

This year, state lawmakers are expected to review several proposals to tighten safety requirements for commercial trucks, and Gov. M. Jodi Rell is adding $483,000 to her budget to hire additional inspectors at the state Department of Motor Vehicles. Blumenthal also said Friday, Feb. 3 that he will ask lawmakers to increase the number of mandatory inspections that each vehicle and company must pass to remain on the road.

Michael J. Riley, president of the Motor Transport Association of Connecticut, told the AP that responsible trucking companies could be unfairly portrayed in an online “Hall of Shame.” For example, he said, a truck can be sidelined for something as simple as a light bulb that burned out shortly before an inspection. Also, some companies’ records have been hurt by crashes that their drivers did not cause, including a few cases when unoccupied trucks were parked and cars ran into them, he said. “It’s case by case, and often times there are explanations that don’t get factored in and that the public wouldn’t have any way to know about,” Riley told the AP.