Massachusetts proposal could lead to local tanker truck bans

| 12/26/2007

A Massachusetts state lawmaker would like to see rules put in place that would allow communities to prohibit tanker trucks from using local traffic rotaries, which are referred to as roundabouts in some areas.

Sen. Anthony Galluccio, D-Cambridge, said the ban on tankers in the traffic circles is intended to give local governments more control over roadways that pass through congested neighborhoods. A similar rule already is in place in New York.

The effort follows an incident in Everett, MA, on Dec. 5 when a tanker overturned in a rotary and ignited a fire that destroyed two buildings and 21 motor vehicles, The Boston Globe reported. The tanker spilled 9,400 gallons of fuel.

Galluccio said he also plans to pursue rules that would impose strict liability on truckers, manufacturers, fuel companies and others for damage resulting from such tanker wrecks.

Opponents say more focus should be put on the design of rotaries to help ensure they are safe.

Others say in most instances there aren’t other options for truckers. Large trucks often traverse Everett’s network of traffic circles because a nearby bridge over the Mystic River to Boston and Interstate 93 has been closed to big rigs for more than four years, The Globe reported.

The legislation can be considered during the regular session that begins Jan. 2, 2008.

To view other legislative activities of interest for Massachusetts in 2007, click here.

– By Keith Goble, state legislative editor