Cuomo: EZ-Pass May be Used to Enforce Tractor-Trailer Ban

Tractor-Trailers involved in numerous crashes despite ban

Brian Mazurowski
January 31, 2019 - 11:20 am

Governor's Office/Twitter.com/RichAzzopardi

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Cheektowaga, NY (WBEN) - Ever since Tuesday night, tractor-trailers have been banned from the Thruway between Rochester and the Pennsylvania line, but anyone who has ventured outside over the past couple of days can tell you not everyone is paying attention to the warnings.

Now, the Governor is looking to see what technology can be used to catch those who disregard the orders.

On Wednesday, two tractor-trailers were involved in a 21-vehicle pileup that halted traffic and saw a New York State Police officer seriously injured. 

"This is a disgrace for these tractor-trailer operators to be violating the ban, and putting lives in danger," said Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday. "It is reckless, it violates their training as trained commercial drivers licence operators, and we're not going to tolerate it. I believe it is criminal."

Thursday morning, Cuomo took a tour of some of the area highways, and personally spoke with some of the tractor trailer drivers not following the ban.

The Governor said he's searching for new ways to track down and punish those truck drivers who don't abide by the bans.

"We're exploring whether or not the EZ-Pass system can be used to enforce this tractor-trailer ban," Cuomo said. "The EZ-Pass signals that it is a tractor-trailer. The EZ-Pass will tell us when you went on to a road that had a ban, and whether or not that truck entered that road during the ban."

Cuomo said that anyone caught driving illegally during a travel ban could be charged with a misdemeanor. 

The Erie County Sheriff's Office added that there is no excuse for tractor-trailer drivers not to know about a ban. Electric road signs, calls to trucking associations and trucking companies, media alerts, and social media are all used to inform drivers when one is in place.

"That tractor-trailer ban is serious. We're not asking tractor-trailers and buses to stay off the road. That is a legal ban," Cuomo said. "If you violate the law in this situation you could be endangering human life."

State police said the truck that caused the pileup was traveling east on I-90 when it jackknifed between Rochester and Buffalo and struck the rear of the patrol vehicle of Trooper Dominique Wilson, who had pulled over to assist stranded motorists. Her vehicle was then sideswiped by a second truck, troopers said.

Wilson was treated at a Rochester hospital for numerous injuries but is expected to recover, officials said. Two other people were treated and released, police said.

The two truckers were issued several tickets, including failing to heed the roadside traffic control devices that alerted commercial truck and bus drivers that a travel ban was in effect, troopers said.

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