The US Department of Transportation advised Congress not to change the current truck weight and size laws as the agency lacks much needed data to make clear assessments of the impact of any alterations.
The Under Secretary of transportation, Peter Rogoff, is reported to have said that there wasn’t sufficient data available from crash reports to evaluate a vehicle’s weight at the time it crashed; the data available could not help DOT to evaluate whether the trucks, at the time of the accident were fully loaded, at legal capacity for their axle configurations, running overweight, or had unevenly distributed weight.
The DOT issued the report to fulfil a requirement in 2012’s MAP-21 highway funding law, which required the DOT’s Federal Highway Administration to issue a report on the potential impacts on safety, infrastructure and freight movement if size and weight limits permitted larger, heavier trucks
MAP-21 Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Limits Study
Additionally, long-term maintenance costs of roads and bridges, because of heavier loads, could not be ascertained at the time. The effects of larger and heavier trucks on the Federal highway system are yet to be determined.
Of course, there’s no denying that road transport, and the trucking industry in particular, is one of the major lifelines of any industrial development; transporting products from dockyards to warehouses, and from warehouses to stores across the nation. The trucking industry would obviously support better roads and infrastructure that support larger trucks with heavier loads, making the transportation of goods cheaper and more profitable.
While the ATA ,trucking company owners, and shippers are supporting larger trucks on the road, others, including the majority of truckers themselves are strongly against it. Drivers feel it’s just one more way to have more freight hauled without increased wage benefits for the CMV driver. Also, their concerns for adequate parking are also valid. Many of the truck parking spaces existing now are already too narrow and short.
Others opposed to increasing the weight and length of trucks include OOIDA, highway maintenance authorities, paramedical services, firefighters, and safety advocacy groups such as the Truck Safety Coalition
Many believe that there could be increased fatal consequences if larger and heavier trucks are allowed on the roads. Accidents could result in much worse fatalities, such as linking truck weights with such variables as braking distance along with the added weight and effect on truck stability or potential increase in roll-over, adding to the dangers. Still others go on to say that if a truck of such capacity was to hit a car, even at low speeds, it could result in no one surviving. Of course you could say that about a truck of 80,000 just as easily, but adding the other risk factors mentioned, it becomes a more serious and valid statement.
Another concern being raised by stakeholders is that while you may trust older, experienced drivers with larger and heavier trucks, young drivers who have little or no experience maybe more vulnerable to mishandling and causing fatal accidents.
The Department of Transportation is also concerned about the smaller roads. They believe that while some of the larger roads may be able to handle the load of heavier trucks, smaller city roads may deteriorate quicker and in turn, incur more maintenance costs.
The public has until Oct. 13 to provide feedback on the Federal Highway Administration’s 2015 study Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Limits Study.
Comments may be submitted and viewed at Docket No. FHWA-2014-0035. Click here to make a comment.
This notice announces a deadline for submitting comments to the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) for consideration as part of the Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century Act (MAP-21) Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Limits Study Report to Congress. On June 5, 2015, DOT released for public comment and peer review the technical results of a comprehensive study of certain safety, infrastructure, and efficiency issues surrounding the Federal truck size and weight limits and the potential impacts of changing those limits. The DOT is now preparing a Report to Congress to conclude this study.
© 2015, Allen Smith. All rights reserved.