There is a new push to allow bigger trucks on the roads and highways of America. Trucking companies are talking about longer trucks and trucks with double and triple trailers. Even with the current weight limit, crashes involving commercial trucks cause too many serious injuries and deaths every year.
The Wall Street Journal indicated the push in Congress is coming from 150 companies who want to allow trucks up to 20% heavier than the current 80,000 pound limit. This would make the average truck go from 80,000 pds to 96,000 pounds. These longer and heavier trucks would increase the blind areas or “no zones” around the tractor trailer as well as making them harder to stop. While trucks may have increased breaking capacity, passenger cars and pickup trucks wont have any additional structural support added to withstand the impact from these monster trucks. Even if passenger cars were made to withstand these forces, it would be impossible to retrofit the 100’s of millions of cars currently on the road.
In addition to consumer safety organizations that uniformly think this is a bad idea, OIDA (Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association) has stated that the stability of a tractor trailer is “substantially reduced on bigger and heavier trucks.” Rollovers are already the leading cause of truck driver deaths, this proposal would make one of the most deadly professions worse. One government official, a truck inspector, was quoted in the WSJ article as stating the idea is “insane.” He could actually feel the bridges bounce with trucks, and the heavier the trucks the more the bridge bounced. Do we really need the extra strain on the bridges and roadways of America? Do we really need another bridge to collapse like in 2007 in Minneapolis?