On Monday morning, June 24, I was making an overnight business trip to the Northern
Adirondack Mountains in New York. The weather was decent and the expected tourist traffic
was not too bad. Winding my way through the Western Mountains of Maine and into New Hampshire my thoughts were only on the trip before me and enjoying an area that I love to experience.

Heading west a short way out of Gorham, New Hampshire, the traffic slowed and there seemed to be something causing the proverbial “rubbernecking.”

To my astonishment I had come upon the scene of the horrific motorcycle crash of the previous Friday. The scars and stains upon the roadway provided a vivid picture of what had transpired. The embankment on the opposite side of the road showed graphic evidence of the crash and the burning of the pickup truck. My mood went from enjoying a drive to one of somber reflecting on the horror experienced by those bikers.

The image of that short trip through the accident site and my return trip on the same road has stayed with me. Scores of miniature flags were placed along the road with folks walking along the shoulder, including some who looked very much like family.

Having read many articles about the crash, one thing stands out very clear, the man — Volodymyr Zhukovskyy — should have not been driving that truck or any vehicle for that matter. He had numerous traffic accidents, an OUI driving conviction, and a drug-related arrest.

The Department of Motor Vehicles in Massachusetts completely messed up.

It has been revealed that the Massachusetts DMV had thousands of notifications from other states that had not been processed over an extended length of time. The government agency charged with the safety of its citizens was not competent in keeping them safe.

In addition, the company that owns the pickup truck and trailer has a very suspect history of safety violations itself. Twenty percent of its safety inspections turned up deficiencies. Its DOT permit should probably have been suspended long ago. The “system” failed those bikers. One would hope that Maine has the necessary checks and balances in place to make sure that we do not have the same problem here.

Having reviewed a number of court cases, I have observed over many years that the legal system does not necessarily protect us from serious and habitual repeat offenders. Many times in the court cases we see that someone is convicted and then all sentencing is suspended. This does very little to deter someone from committing the same act again.

Frequently we observe that people are charged with driving with a suspended license, and it goes without saying that they had a disregard for the conviction for the first offense. There should be severe repercussions for driving with a suspended license.

There is also a new terror on the highway. Not all that long ago when reading about an OUI offense, the listing would simply say “OUI.” Now it reads “OUI alcohol.”

Why the change? There are now new categories due to substance abuse, which is primarily caused by the legalization of marijuana.

It should not be unreasonable to expect that more can be done to keep us safe on the road.

All of the defensive driving techniques ever suggested would not have prevented what happened to the bikers. That person who crosses the center line could very well be any one of us.

Technology available today could be in place to allow cross checking between traffic offenses and drug offenses. Those cited for drug offenses or driving violations could be reviewed to see if the offender is a danger on the road.

I suspect that the family and friends of the seven bikers killed on a New Hampshire roadway would support more of an effort to keep folks safe.

Another View is a weekly column written collaboratively by Dale Landrith of Camden, Ken Frederic of Bristol, Paul Ackerman of Martinsville, Jan Dolcater of Rockport and Ralph “Doc” Wallace of Rockport.