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UTAHN SAYS TRUCKERS GET AWAY WITH MURDER

The tractor-trailer truck that crashed into her husband's car had 16 violations, including no pre-trip inspection, a cracked rear axle, faulty brakes and an unsecured load.

The driver didn't have a valid driver's license and was driving in violation of the state's 15-hour rule, the Utah Highway Patrol said.William Weliky, 47, would never come home, never hug his 9-year-old son again.

Catherine Weliky became a safety advocate.

"The crash happened the 26th of January. Bill died the 28th of January. (The driver) showed up Feb. 2 and got another driver's license," the Sandy woman said. "Now, he's out there on the road again."

Weliky voiced her concerns Tuesday to members of the U.S. Department of Transportation as part of an informational focus group. The discussions - held in Houston, Salt Lake City, Detroit and Philadelphia - are an effort to raise awareness for the first national study on truck size and weight since 1980.

Some 30 people, representing trucking companies, safety groups and government in six Western states, met for four hours to discuss the future of big rigs on the nation's roadways.

Some possibilities included retaining the status quo, giving the federal government more control and increasing states' flexibility. Also undecided is whether federal limits on longer combination vehicles (LCVs) should be lifted, allowing larger and heavier trucks.

"The longer we get, the bigger we get, the heavier we get, the more unsafe the situation is," said Charlie Parfrey, owner of a trucking company in Spokane, Wash.

Utah - intersected by I-15 - will have twice as much truck traffic in 2005 as it does today, said Glenn Goodrich, director of the Utah Department of Transportation's motor carrier division.

In addition, I-15 has been proposed as one of three interstates that would handle international traffic under the North American Free Trade Agreement.

"We should make them (Mexico and Canada) abide by our standards," Parfrey said.

Rae Cangelosi, representing the International Teamsters Union, said current safety standards are not being enforced.

An unaddressed safety agenda about current weight configurations shows that average citizens - who have to share the roads - are being ignored.

"I'm concerned that bigger, heavier, longer trucks are going to be the Chernobyl of the trucking industry," said Roger Horn, president of Travel Safe America and a resident of Salt Lake City.

Weliky understands Horn's fear. She is still waiting for charges to be filed against the driver or the Salt Lake company that owned the truck.

"They're not policing what's out there right now," Weliky said. "There's just too many (unsafe trucks) slipping through the cracks . . . they're getting away with murder."