Cover Story
Longer, heavier? Truckers are saying…

OOIDA member Bill Esser of Springfield, OR, says longer, heavier truck legislation should be decided by the states, instead of on the federal level. “My opinion is that the feds should stay out of it and leave it to the states to decide.”

Bunny Smith of Jackson, TN, says, “It doesn’t matter what the ATA says; heavier trucks are more dangerous to the driver and the motoring public. ATA says heavier loads mean more axles and brakes, but it doesn’t address the company’s side of it. Most don’t keep up maintenance now. Just a bad situation all around, including the roads.”

“Our roads are in bad shape now! LCVs and heavier trucks will help deteriorate them even faster. Stopping distance is [also] a big concern,” says OOIDA Senior Member Greg Langford of St. Cloud, MN.

Russell J. Brown Jr., a Land Line reader from Pennsylvania, builds trucks at a Mack plant. He says, “Longer trucks will be harder to control.”

Dwayne Sanchez of Canton, OH, thinks LCVs will “push the owner-operator closer to the brink of extinction.”

OOIDA member Deanna Millsap of Fowler, KS, hauls hoppers for agricultural use. She tells Land Line, “the little county or township bridges and roads that one must travel to get to a field are often not equipped to handle even an 80,000-pound truck, much less one that weighs 97,000 pounds.”

“It’s not like the roads are built to handle [LCVs] either. If we had top-notch infrastructure nationwide, I could see how this could work. But not with the shape things are in now,” says Isaac Wilson of Wellington, KS. “Maybe I would be OK with it if they paid me more to haul the load-and-a-half, but I know that won’t happen. That’s not how I get paid now and if they tried to make us run like that, we’d all throw a fit.”

As OOIDA member Jeff Barker points out, “our current road and highway infrastructure is outdated to the point where it’s hard enough to get around with the current 53-foot trailers we already have.” He wonders, “Why do we want to do something that would make an existing and dangerous problem even worse just to save shippers a few bucks?” LL


– By Kerry Evans-Spillman
Land Line staff