Truck Drivers Speak Out Against Increasing Truck Size and Weight Limits

Jul 2013

As part of a traffic and highway law called Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century,  Congress mandated that the Federal Highway Administration conduct a study to determine the impact of increasing truck size and weight limits. The mandate comes at a time when lawmakers are also proposing increasing the national weight limit from the current 80,000 pounds on five axles to a new maximum of 97,000 pounds on six axles.

Those pushing to increase size and weight limits of trucks believe that doing so would help to reduce transportation costs. Unfortunately, our San Antonio truck accident lawyers know that making trucks larger, longer and heavier could also increase the risk of serious truck accidents occurring. Many professional drivers are also concerned about the impact of larger trucks on the road and the Owner Operator Independent Driver Association (OOIDA) is speaking out against any increases.

Professional Drivers Speak Out Against Increasing Truck Size & Weight Limits

OOIDA has an estimated 150,000 members, all of whom are professional truck drivers and motor carriers.  Recently, three OOIDA members who had a combined 70 years of trucking experience submitted comments to the Federal Highway Administration in response to the FHWA’s request for comments.

Over the years, OOIDA has fought against increasing size and weight limits, despite the fact that increases are supported by a small number of mega-carriers and a large number of shippers. Landline Mag indicated that OOIDA members are actively involved in the trucking industry and, unlike many organizations submitting comments to the FHWA, actually feel the real-world impact of changes to trucking regulations. OOIDA members are reportedly concerned not just with added costs of larger trucks but are also concerned about the risks that heavier vehicles would present.

Today, much of the current infrastructure in the U.S. was built before 53 foot trailers became common, so there are already risks on roads where current trucks are too large to pass safely. Bigger and heavier trucks are only likely to exacerbate the dangers faced by truck drivers and others on the road. In fact, as the OOIDA members and professional truck drivers indicated in their submitted statement, “any seasoned driver will tell you that extra weight means extra responsibility and a reduced margin for errors.”

Larger trucks could not only increase the chances of an accident happening but could also make it much more likely for the accident to be very serious. The larger the truck, the more momentum and force the vehicle will have and the greater the impact if a truck accident occurs.

Hopefully, the new FHWA study will reveal the true risks associated with increasing truck size so that an informed decision can be made that takes highway safety into account. The FHWA is expected to report the findings of its study to Congress in the fall of 2014 and it is likely that many more professional drivers will weigh in with their own opinions on increasing truck size before the final recommendation is submitted.

If you’ve been injured in an accident, contact the Herrera Law Firm at 800-455-1054 for a free case evaluation.

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