According to the Boston Globe, after nearly a decade of debate over proposals to give the state police the authority to make sure trucks are running safely, the Legislature has yet to even vote on the subject.
State troopers currently lack the legal power to inspect trucking companies' records and fleets, and force them to comply with the law or be shut down.
In addition, if those companies operate solely within Massachusetts, no government agency, including the U.S. Department of Transportation, can do so either.
The compliance reviews are a basic requirement for the $2.9 million Massachusetts receives in federal truck safety funds each year.
Those who favor the proposal say the state risks losing those federal funds if they don’t step up truck safety requirements. However, many trucking companies in Massachusetts, who have spent considerable time lobbying against the proposal, say roadside inspections conducted by the troopers already do plenty to ensure highway safety and that police already have too much power.
The debate is focusing on a bill being proposed by state Representative Paul E. Caron, who said this year’s version will attempt to strike a compromise between law officials and the trucking industry. Under it, companies that adhere to safety regulations would be freed, for a period, from lengthy roadside inspections, perhaps with a recognizable sticker for each truck in a fleet, he told the paper.