Conn. Gov. Rell Pushes Road Safety at Avon Mountain Crash Site

January 18, 2006

Connecticut Gov. M. Jodi Rell has proposed doubling the fines for people who break traffic laws on Avon Mountain, part of a package of recommendations prompted by a fiery crash that killed four people over the summer.

Rell said that many steps have been taken to improve safety on the steep road in the wake of the July 29 crash, but more must be done.

“We worry about family members, friends and co-workers who travel along Avon Mountain, and we have an obligation to make this roadway as safe as possible,” Rell said in a statement. “Avon Mountain commuters and their families should gain some peace of mind knowing that safeguards are firmly in place.”

The crash was triggered by an out-of-control dump truck that barreled down the mountain and smashed into vehicles waiting at a traffic signal. The crash injured 19 people.

A judge ruled earlier this month that the assets of the American Crushing & Recycling, the Bloomfield company that owned the dump truck, can be auctioned to compensate victims and their families.

The company’s owner and his wife are accused of dropping insurance on the truck six months before the crash, then trying to get it reinstated immediately afterward.

Among other ideas, Rell said she will propose strengthening the Department of Motor Vehicles’ ability to suspend the licenses of trucking companies operating illegally and clearly outline commercial insurance reporting requirements.

She also wants more visible signs, rumble strips to prevent drivers from crossing the yellow lines, and a Web site where people who drive the road regularly can report problems. The site is expected to be available by Feb. 1.

Rell said she will also propose legislation that would double fines for people who break traffic laws on the mountain, much the way fines are doubled for those who speed in construction zones.

“These recommendations will not solve all the problems. We need everyone to do their part, too,” she said. “That means exercising extreme caution on Avon Mountain and being aware of the other drivers on the roadway. Together, we can make Avon Mountain safer for all of us.”

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