Proposals taking aim at trucking industry falter in Connecticut

| 4/12/2005

A handful of proposals in the Connecticut General Assembly targeting truckers in the name of safety have met their demise.

The proposed legislation sought to require:

  • That trucks drive slower than other vehicles;

  • That trucks stay to the right on multilane highways;

  • That the Greenwich weigh station be open more frequently to increase truck inspections; and

  • That trucks be prohibited from using engine brakes.

All of the proposals remained in the Joint Transportation Committee past the deadline for bills to pass out of the panel.

An effort offered by Rep. Steve Jarmoc would have limited large trucks to 55 mph on rural interstates. Currently, tractor-trailers driving those stretches of highway can travel up to 65 mph – the same limit as all other vehicles.

Another plan from Jarmoc, D-Enfield, called for forcing trucks to use only the far right-hand lane on multilane highways.

Sen. Andrew McDonald, D-Stamford, attached his name to a proposal that would have opened the Greenwich weigh station more often and another that called for reducing the noise made by engine brakes.

McDonald said he knows that engine brakes make loud noise because of what some truckers do to them after purchase, but said his proposal was valid.

“This is a perfect example of where we can work with the trucking industry to alleviate noise pollution,” he told The Advocate.

A pair of bills offered by Sen. Robert Duff, D-Norwalk, sought to increase hours at the weigh station – located on the southbound side of Interstate 95 between Exits 2 and 3 – to boost enforcement of truck safety laws.

“There needs to be some regulation of traffic that comes through our highways, and what we’re seeing is a lack of enforcement,” Duff told the newspaper while the initiatives were still under consideration. “We need to get a better handle on the weigh station.”

However, another bill relating to trucks remains active in the Joint Judiciary Committee.

Sponsored by Rep. Lile Gibbons, R-Greenwich, the bill – HB5466 – would hike the fine for truckers who illegally travel on the Merritt Parkway from $70 to $250.

Gibbons insisted she isn’t targeting the trucking industry; she simply wants to make sure the law is enforced, she told the newspaper.

“The fine right now is too little,” Gibbons said. Increasing it, she said, would serve as a deterrent.