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Truck drivers say no to raising weight and size limits

There is a fear among some truck drivers that the Federal Highway Administration is going to increase the size and weight limits on trucks. If the size and weight limits are increased, the fear is related to safety, infastructure and job security. 

Members of the Owner Operator Independent Drivers Asssociation made sure their concerns were heard by the Federal Highway Administration. Right now, the limit is 80,000 pounds on five axles. Under the proposal, the limit would be raised to 97,000 pounds on six axles. 

According to OOIDA members, this would mean entry and intermediate level drivers would need to be able to handle slightly less than 100,000 pounds on the road. This would mean handling this much weight when going down a hill, or when there is a tire blowout or a sharp curve. Basically, the more weight the more responsibility and the less it is OK to make a mistake.

Of course there is also the infrastructure question, with OOIDA members questioning if a higher weight would mean less bridges to drive on. If so, the solution would be to either restrict access of update weight-restricted bridges to the new standard. However, this would mean either having to re-route or spending money from state transportation budgets that are already stretched thin.

Lastly, if trucks increased in weight limits, those small-business truck drivers could possibly be out of jobs due to those companies with the bigger and heavier trucks.

For other motorists on the roadways, trucks hauling even heavier loads could be somewhat frightening. While all it takes now is one bad move to cause an accident, the margin for truck driver error is even smaller as the size and weight of these trucks increases. The hope is that safety is weighed heavy when coming to a final decision.

 

Source: Land Line magazine, "Supersized trucks? The professionals on the road say no,” David Tanner, June 6, 2013

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