Size and weight increases: Groups fight legislation in Washington, report finds negative impacts

| April 11, 2014

oversizedSeveral trucking and safety groups took to Washington, D.C., this week to note their opposition to any increases to truck size and weight limits. They also expressed concern about a Congressionally required Department of Transportation study, saying it has “significant flaws and potential biases.” 

The Teamsters and the Truck Safety Coalition, along with Citizens for Reliable and Safety Highways, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety and the Coalition Against Bigger Truck, objected to the DOT study’s methodology and timeframe. 

A peer review by the Transportation Research Board also pointed to shortcomings with the study, saying it is “a missed opportunity.” 

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association consistently opposes measures to increase truck size and weight limits, citing higher across the board costs — equipment, fuel, maintenance, insurance and permits — as negative effects that owner-operators would have trouble absorbing. 

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The American Trucking Associations, however, has backed legislation to allow states to increase size and weight limits.

Opponents to limits increases, however, gained another talking point this week: Findings from a Marshall University study show that the fatal crash rate is eight times higher when  trucks with six or more axles are involved, compared to those with five axles. Marshall’s Multimodal Transportation and Infrastructure Consortium also concluded that fatal crash rates were 15.5 percent higher when double trailer trucks are involved. 

MTIC’s report also concluded that 95 percent of law enforcement officers think increasing size and weight limits would be dangerous and 88 percent of truck drivers thing longer, heavier vehicles would negatively impact safety. 

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  • lastgoodusername

    Get ready for heavier and bigger, whatever the ATA/FMCSA want they get.

  • douglasmorton

    Let me see if the figures are right. The roads are getting worse by the second, we can’t run our hours right so we drive at night, over 90% of the bridges are bad or need to be replaced. Yep everything checks out good so it will be a new law and we won’t get paid for increase weight.

  • Barney

    The so called safety groups are wrong, plain and simple. All one has do is look at states like Michigan, and many western states that allow over 80,000 lbs. Canada too. If you spread the weight out over more contact area/axles you reduce the concentrated load in a given area. It is simple math and physics.

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  • Spence

    That, and unless you have more axles and tires under the truck and trailer, most trucks and trailers don’t have heavy enough frames and suspension, and weren’t designed to gross more than about 80,000. That’s how I see it.