The travel ban on semi trucks in Western NY was lifted Thursday in the wake of a severe winter weather event. The ban extended between 18 exits on the New York State Thruway, keeping tandem vehicles and tractor trailers off the road for 15 hours.
On average, there are about 11 auto accidents involving at least one semi truck every day, according to the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration; this ban’s primary purpose wasn’t to prevent crashes, but to keep trucks from getting stranded. Countless commercial trucks were trapped on the Thruway by Buffalo’s historic November snow storm, and drivers had to wait for rescue crews to dig them out.
Truck driver Randy Paxton from Indiana didn’t seem bothered when Time Warner Cable News caught up to him at a travel center near Pembroke. “You kind of expect that when you come up here, so I’m not surprised at anything,” he said. “You have to deal with what the weather brings. Way trucking is – we do what we can do be safe, and everyone is trying to do the same thing. Life goes on,”
Paxton added that when he pulled into the rest stop Wednesday night, he was due for a break anyway, so he didn’t lose any time.
Other truckers at the rest stop were similarly supportive of the ban. Kent Lofecheck and Jen Mages called travel bans the “safest thing in the world.”
“I’ve been out here 15 years, I’ve seen way too many accidents when people just try to hot dog through the snow,” Lofecheck told Time Warner Cable News. “Close it, get it done, and get it over with. They can reschedule appointments anytime they want.”
The ban went into effect from 5 p.m. Wednesday to 6 a.m. Thursday. All tractor trailers and tandem trailers were banned on I-90 between Exit 32 and Exit 48. The state department also banned semi trucks on sections of I-81, I-690 and I-390.