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Westchester, State Officials Work To Prevent Truck Accidents At Overpasses

RYE BROOK, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) -- The latest incident involving a truck hitting a parkway overpass has officials taking another look at how to stop this from happening again, WCBS 880's Sean Adams reported.

On Monday, a wayward tractor trailer strayed onto the Hutchinson River Parkway, struck the King Street Overpass and spilled its load of canned vegetables.

Once again, Westchester County Assemblyman Tom Abinanti is calling for truck obstructions at entry ramps, Adams reported. Abinanti is pushing legislation that would put a crossbar at the height of the bridges at the entrance to each of the parkways where accidents involving big rigs have been known to happen in the past.

Westchester, State Officials Work To Prevent Truck Accidents At Overpasses

"A simple frame with a dangling foam bar at the height which is too low for the trucks to pass under," Abinanti told Adams.

A report released by AAA in October 2012 identified 10 locations in Westchester County where trucks hit low clearance bridges and overpasses the most between the years 2002 and 2011.

The report found that about 70 percent of all statewide crashes involving trucks and overpasses occur in the Hudson Valley, New York City and Long Island areas.

Truck drivers unfamiliar with the area often wander onto roads with truck restrictions and get stuck, which can cause massive traffic delays, the report found.

State Department of Transportation Bo Duffy told WCBS 880 bridge strikes in the Hudson Valley are actually down around 50 percent 2012-2013, since the state started painting large warnings on the pavement.

But Duffy said the department does not approve of the low-hanging obstructions like the ones being proposed by Abinanti.

"We don't want to damage someone's truck or put someone in danger," Duffy said.

Instead, Duffy said they are testing a new electronic warning system on Long Island.

"It uses an infrared beam to detect if an overhead truck is getting on a parkway and it flashes a big sign and tells the trucker to stop," Duffy told WCBS.

Duffy said that system could be used on The Hutch within the year.

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