TCA changes stance to favor higher truck weights

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The Truckload Carriers Association has changed its position on federal maximum truck weights and now supports increasing the allowable weight from 80,000 to 88,000 pounds.

The association amended its weight policy Oct. 16 in favor of supporting the hike on any five-axle tractor-trailer combination, said TCA Chairman John Kaburick.

The association based the decision on a need for increased productivity and to cope with the driver shortage. The 88,000 pound limit is close to the Canadian federal limit, Kaburick said.

The American Trucking Associations and National Private Truck Council, along with the Coalition for Transportation Productivity, are campaigning for increasing truck weight limits on federal interstate highways for trucks equipped with a sixth axle. The change would result in fewer trucks on the road, which would create less emissions and traffic congestion, the advocates said.

Norita Taylor, a spokeswoman for the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, said OOIDA has remained against increases, and productivity can be improved only if loading and shipping time problems are dealt with.  

“Relaxing weight limit restrictions would not address any of the problems cited by proponents,” Taylor said. “The supposed driver shortage is actually a problem of high turnover.” 

Maine and Vermont have pilot programs, due to expire in December, that allow trucks  weighing up to 100,000 pounds to operate on the states’ Interstate Highway System.

Congress received the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act of 2010, or S. 3705, on Aug. 4, which was referred to committee with two co-sponsors. It would allow trucks weighing up to 97,000 pounds operate on Interstate Highways if equipped with a sixth axle.

Last year, its companion bill, H.R.1799, was introduced and referred to committee with 54 co-sponsors.