$5K fine for truckers hitting bridge on hold; Councilor seeks additional information.

AuthorKotsopoulos, Nick

Byline: Nick Kotsopoulos

WORCESTER -- A proposal to fine truckers $5,000 for hitting a low bridge has been put off by the City Council for two weeks.

The proposal, which would require special legislation, was held Tuesday night after Councilor-at-Large Morris A. Bergman requested additional information from the city administration about whether a truck driver's insurance or the employer's insurance makes restitution when these accidents occur.

As recently as early Wednesday morning, the Cambridge Street bridge was struck by a truck once again. The truck was traveling up Cambridge Street toward Southbridge Street.

Richard Kazarian, branch manager of Northeast Electrical Distributors, 632 Cambridge St., said the bridge caught the latch for the rear door of the truck's container.

He said the container swung open when the truck cleared the bridge, wiping out one street light pole and striking another, knocking the cobra head and arm off the pole and landing on his employees' vehicles.

"This incident happened when I have employees crossing Cambridge Street from the employee parking lot,'' Mr. Kazarian said. "A few minutes either way with this accident, and the city and myself would be having a much different morning. If any employees had been standing on that sidewalk, waiting to cross over to work, and been struck by that swinging tailgate, we would have been dealing with dead bodies. It is incomprehensible that it has taken the city this long to fix a well-known and extremely dangerous problem.''

At Tuesday night's meeting, Councilor-at-Large Frederick C. Rushton said he wanted to see the effectiveness of the new height-clearance curtain that will be installed to warn truck drivers about the low clearance of the railroad bridge on Cambridge Street before such a steep fine is implemented.

He said there are accidents all over the city on a daily basis, some of which block traffic for long periods and some that damage city property, but motorists are not fined $5,000 for them.

"People disobey stop signs; they go through red lights and cause accidents; they speed and cause accidents; and they break driving laws all over the city, yet they don't get charged $5,000 for an accident,'' Mr. Rushton said. "Maybe if we charge $5,000 every time there is an accident in Worcester it might reduce the number of accidents.

"The point is I'd like to see the effect of the chain (height warning) system first and then possibly look at the issue of fines,'' he...

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