Last week, it was a large truck that overturned on Route 128, near Lexington, creating a massive traffic jam for hours. On almost any given day on an elevated ramp near Chelsea, a truck may catapult the guard rail and fall to the road below. Large trucks so frequently cause gridlock, crashes, injuries, and death, on Massachusetts roadways, that reports of the damage they cause, seem interchangeable. Speed, long driver hours, overweight loads, time pressures, and driver inattentiveness, are amongst the causes of the truck accident carnage.
The road monsters are so prevalent and the speeds at which they travel, so excessive, that they have negatively impacted the very quality of life in this state. There is plenty of blame to spread around for the problem. It began some years back with the federal government, when the Department of Transportation required Massachusetts, with the threat of withholding of federal funds, to allow double rigs on the interstates.
Our roadways were never designed to handle these behemoths, but handle them, the roadways now must. The powerful trucking industry lobby is a major culprit, fighting tirelessly, to prevent laws and law enforcement rigorous enough to significantly reduce truck injuries. The Massachusetts State Police, by training and dedication, one of the finest in the country, is not blameless. Every Massachusetts driver has undoubtedly received his fair share of speeding tickets, but will be hard-pressed to ever recall seeing a “Statie” pull over a large truck, no matter how recklessly driven. Until the public says, “enough,” and requires elected officials to come down hard and often on dangerous truck drivers, the big rigs will continue to create havoc and injury.