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Trucks ignoring travel ban making travel more dangerous

Posted: 5:28 PM, Jan 30, 2019
Updated: 2019-01-31 22:04:08-05
Tractor trailer involved in thruway pileup

BUFFALO, N.Y. (WKBW) — Tractor-trailers are ignoring the travel ban on state highways, and it’s causing problems all across Western New York.

“We’ve seen in past storms - those are the first vehicles to create incidents and accidents,” said Governor Cuomo Wednesday.

A 21-car pileup on the Thruway involved a tractor-trailer, even after an entire day of state officials warning patrols will be ramped up and these drivers would be ticketed.

The governor says that all large trucks were given advance notice that the ban would be in effect.

“They get prior notice, okay, and we make a point of giving them prior notice so no one can say ‘I didn’t know, I was already en route’.”

During a storm update Thursday morning, Governor Cuomo said officials are trying to figure out if E-ZPass can be used to enforce the tractor trailer ban. The pass says what kind of vehicle it is registered to and would signal if a tractor trailer is on the thruway.

State police tell us it’s not the experience of these drivers, it’s the type of vehicle they’re in.

“Between this amount of weather, once that vehicle stops it might not be able to get going,” said State Trooper James O’Callaghan. “And a jackknife takes hours to remove, and that backs up a lot of thruway or the roadway that its on.”

Truck drivers agree.

“Like right now my trailer is empty and if you’re going down the thruway and get hit by a blast of wind it can turn you sideways or flip the truck completely over,” said Stever Lorber who has over 40 years experience driving trucks.

Despite the warnings, trucks are still traveling on main roadways, and causing problems.

The Governor says these drivers will be looking at hefty fines, and can even face arrest, if caught.

“If you have an accident, and…cause.. costs to be incurred by emergency personnel, you’re going to be held responsible.”

State officials say more than 200 tickets have been handed out to truck drivers who violated the travel ban.