New York Governor Threatens Truckers With “Criminal Charges” After 21-Vehicle Pileup
“It won’t just be a traffic citation. It could be a crime. We have the data to show that when tractor-trailers violate the ban, bad things happen.” – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo
New York, New York – New York Governor Andrew Cuomo (D) intends to criminally charge truckers who violate future bans on tractor-trailers and buses traveling on certain state highways, after a trucker in violation of this week’s ban caused a 21-vehicle pileup.
On Tuesday, Gov. Cuomo announced a ban on tractor-trailers and buses traveling along certain state highways due to extreme cold and deteriorating winter weather conditions the state was dealing with. The ban went into effect on Tuesday evening at 8 p.m.
Here is a list of the roadways officials banned truckers from.
- I-190 – full length (both Thruway and DOT sections)
- I-290 – full length
- U.S. Route 219 from Peters Road to I-90 (expressway section)
- Route 5 Skyway – I-190 to NY 179 (Milestrip Rd)
- Route 400 – Route 16 to I-90
- I-90 from Interchange 46 (I-390 – Rochester) to the Pennsylvania Line
- I-81 from the Canadian Border to Route 104
Officials reminded the public again on Wednesday that troopers would be vigorously enforcing the ban. NY State Police reported they had cited numerous truckers for being in violation of the ban on Wednesday which prompted an immediate warning from Cuomo. “Some tractor-trailer operators are not respecting the ban, and they should know we’re going to enforce that ban and the state police will be out in full force,” Cuomo said at a press briefing.
Then on Wednesday, multiple tractor-trailers were involved in a 21-vehicle pileup along eastbound lanes of the New York State Thruway near Batavia, according to officials. The collision shut down all lanes of the eastbound New York Thruway near Exit 48.
No life-threatening injuries were reported. However, officials said a trucker was responsible for the pileup as his semi jackknifed causing the accident.
That driver was ticketed and faces a $450 fine. Authorities also said numerous other truckers involved in the crash were cited for being in violation of the ban.
In a press briefing on Thursday Gov. Cuomo came out swinging at truckers who violate the ban even threatening to press criminal charges against any truck driver found to be in violation. “What we’re talking about is increasing penalties to be criminal penalties. That has a dramatic effect on a tractor-trailer driver,” said Cuomo.
Cuomo continued, “It won’t just be a traffic citation. It could be a crime. Under the penal law, there can be a crime under Section 120 for reckless endangerment and assault. So we are not kidding around about the tractor-trailer ban. We put it in place. We have the data to show that when tractor-trailers violate the ban, bad things happen.”
Cuomo then warned truckers that they could lose their CDL if caught violating the ban. “A criminal infraction could cause them to lose their commercial driver’s license. So we are 100 percent serious,” he said.
As a means to better identify trucks violating the ban, Cuomo said he is looking into using the E-Z Pass system to track trucks and enforce the ban.
He said his intentions are to keep the people of New York safe. “You’re not just endangering yourself, you’re endangering other people. And you’re endangering first responders and emergency personnel. And as governor of the state, I’m going to do everything I can to make sure our good people who are out there trying to help and are leaving their homes and their families and putting their lives in danger are not unnecessarily subjected to danger,” Cuomo said.
The ban is no longer in effect. Cuomo and officials have lifted the ban as of Friday, February 1.