A Connecticut legislative panel has advanced a bill intended to increase safety on the state’s roadways by keeping truck weigh stations open longer hours.
The roots of the legislative effort can be traced back to a deadly truck crash in July 2005 that killed four people and injured 19 in the town of Avon. It happened when a dump truck slammed into other vehicles that were stopped at the bottom of the mountain’s steep grade at the intersection of state Routes 44 and 10.
The Appropriations Committee overwhelmingly approved a bill that would require the Interstate 95 weigh station in Greenwich to be open at least 12 hours a day in four-hour shifts Monday through Friday. The facility would be open eight hours a day in four-hours shifts on weekends.
The Greenwich station now is required to be open 256 hours a month. There are eight, eight-hour shifts per week.
Danbury and Union stations on Interstate 84 also would be required to be open longer. The bill specifies the stations be operated for eight hours each day in four-hour shifts. On weekends, the facilities would be staffed four hours a day.
Hours at weigh stations on Interstate 95 in Waterford and Interstate 91 in Middletown are not affected.
Weigh stations are staffed by the state troopers and the state Department of Motor Vehicles. The Department of Public Safety is responsible for the facilities at Danbury and Greenwich. The DMV oversees the Union station.
The bill would require the departments to share responsibility for the weigh stations.
Another provision would mandate more detailed reporting of the numbers and types of vehicles inspected. Citations issued also would be noted.
Supporters say the changes are commonsense. The bill would help ensure more trucks on highways in the state are operating safely, they say.
With only a handful of days remaining in the session, the bill – SB1271 – is in the Public Safety Committee awaiting further consideration. If approved there, it would head to the floors of the House and Senate.