TUXEDO — On Wednesday morning a horse trailer on the Thruway swayed in the wind, broke loose and overturned, injuring the horse inside.
A day later, in Glen Allen, Va., a Google alert appeared on Ron Melancon's computer, informing him of another trailer accident.
"I got mad," he said. "Oh my God, how can this keep happening?"
Five years ago, Melancon, a native of Monticello, launched a campaign focused on trailer safety.
It began with an effort to require trailers to have reflectors after he crashed into one, and evolved into a push for more driver training and inspections after he saw an accident caused by a loose trailer.
"They kill police officers, they kill people, they kill children, they kill horses," he said. "Why isn't anything being done?"
The horse in Wednesday's crash had to be euthanized as a result of his injuries.
By Melancon's unofficial count, about 400 people die every year in crashes caused by loose trailers in this country.
Actual statistics were not immediately available.
Melancon's first exposure to trailer crash victims came years ago as a Monticello volunteer emergency medical technician, he said.
On Melancon's Web site, dangeroustrailers.org, are pictures of victims who have been killed because of loose trailers and pictures of improperly hooked-up trailers.
Three years ago, he successfully lobbied Virginia state lawmakers to pass a law requiring trailers weighing less than 3,000 pounds to have reflectors.
Melancon said he crashed into a trailer five years ago because it didn't have brake lights or reflectors.
Now he is focused on getting national standards for mandatory instructions on how to both drive and hook up a trailer.
He said each state has different standards, with New York being one of the better ones.
State police Sgt. George Okst, who heads the commercial vehicle enforcement unit, said New York considers improper load securement or coupling devices on par with brake or steering problems.
The fine for a first offense ranges from $350 to $1,000. He said trailers coming loose is a concern but is not a rampant problem.
"The biggest problem we see with coupling devices is when they're worn and they're not up to standards," he said.
Matt King contributed to this report
Just like the person from the FAA this week that testified how our Government has let safety slide at our Nations Airlines.. He also testified that his job is at stake... He GETS PAID FOR WHAT HE DOES... I have not received a single dime for my efforts...I feel like the little drummer boy that has no gifts to give to our Political Leaders because if I had gifts (MONEY) Then maybe this issue would be tackled.But in a way our Tax money is being used by incompetent people in our government here are a few examples...The Beef Recalls... Food and Drug...The Toy Recalls.... Consumer Potection AgencyThe Airlines............. FFAThe Firestone Tire recall... NHSTAOur Broken Boarders... Heck we can't even build a fence.... Homeland SecurityThe Mortgage Mess..... The Federal ReservePay Day loans insustry....Now this....The Utility Traialer Industry...How much money has this industry paid to our Government?Get the picture... What are they doing????What is it going to take to get the people to stand up and say "Please get your act together.
I have, for years, driven my Truck with the Tag-along Horsetrailer....I have always been amazed over the fact that as a Onwer of Horses I would not put my own Rig through a safety check every time i travel...before I load up my Animals. If I rent a Rig...usually because more then two horses are going...I, myself , will check that rig...I ask questions to the driver and I have been known to take two trips because I turned away a Rig, that I deemed unsafe. I didn't own 10.000 dollars+ Horses but to me it did not make a difference. I always have been shocked over the Trailers that sometimes would roll into a Show or Fair. I could not believe that they would make it out of the drive way. it is astonishing that nobody has put out thougher regulations on these things by now and I for one would welcome them. My Daughter has to wear a helmet on her lil Scooter...know what I mean...she ain't on the Highway...