Connecticut Governor M. Jodi Rell has signed a measure (SB 2102) that toughens laws governing insurance coverage for trucking companies. The bill stems from a 20-vehicle crash in Avon that killed four people last July.
The bill creates a new Class D felony for the owner of a commercial vehicle who knowingly and willfully operates it without insurance. Such a crime is punishable by up to five years in prison and $5,000 in fines. Commercial vehicle owners must also file evidence of insurance with the state Department of Motor Vehicles at least every six months. The law takes effect January 1, 2006.
“The public should know that I intend to continue to crack down on all variations of unsafe driving in our state,” Rell said. “To improve driver safety in Connecticut, I will continue to explore any options and recommendations that our local and state public safety officials put forth. We must constantly be striving for improvement in road safety, and to make positive strides we need to listen to local officials who know the roads the best.”
This week, Rell announced that the state Department of Transportation is building six speed-enforcement areas on Route 44 over Avon Mountain. The speed-enforcement areas will be small stretches of added pavement – three in each direction – on the sides of the highway where police can set up radar. These will enable West Hartford and Avon police to better enforce the 40 mph speed limit for vehicles traveling over the mountain, which has an 8 percent to 10 percent grade.
In August, Governor Rell ordered the DMV to immediately increase the number of truck safety inspectors within the agency and the volume of truck safety inspections it conducts. The DMV was ordered to identify and inspect the 25 trucking companies or individuals with the highest number of vehicle or driver violations in the past three years, and Rell asked DMV to expand its inspections to Connecticut-based carriers that cross state lines.
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