Governor Cracks Down After Several Truck Crashes

Hours after a truck hauling candy overturned on Interstate 84, closing the highway during morning rush hour, Gov. M. Jodi Rell has asked State Police and the Department of Motor Vehicles to conduct an intense crackdown on unsafe truckers.

She has asked State Police, the traffic squad and the DMV truck squad to look for dangerous practices, such as following too closely, logging too many hours, making unsafe lane changes and speeding.

Ronald Alvarez, 39, of Pennsylvania, was driving a truck eastbound on Interstate 84 in Southbury on Monday morning when he lost control of the truck, traveled off the road, hit a wire rope guiderail and rolled over, police said.

State Police said it appears the driver fell asleep, according to a news release from Rell.

This is the latest crash in the string of 14 truck crashes since April that closed highways and snarled rush-hour traffic for hours. There were three major wrecks between July 6 and July 10 on Interstates 84 and 91, Rell said, and two resulted in fatalities.

In both cases, the deaths were people other than the truck driver. The crashes also injured more than a dozen people.

“A truck driver too tired to drive is a truck driver who does not belong behind the wheel,” Rell said. “Truck drivers who speed, makes unsafe lane changes or tailgate should take their unsafe habits elsewhere: Connecticut will not tolerate them.”

In most cases, the State Police found, the crashes were related to unsafe lane changes and excessive speed, Rell said, conditions that caused truck drivers to lose control.

“The vast majority of truck drivers are safe and courteous professionals who take their job – and their responsibilities – very seriously,” Rell said. “Those who do not are going to be meeting officers from the State Police and the DMV’s truck enforcement unit under some very uncomfortable conditions.”

Alvarez was taken to Waterbury Hospital with head lacerations.

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