Florida DOT rejects Mica's request to restrict trucks

| 1/10/2003

The Florida Department of Transportation has decided against U.S. Rep. John Mica's (R-Winter Park) request to restrict truckers' use of the state's sections of I-4 and I-95, according to FDOT's letter to the congressman.

In August, Mica urged Florida transportation officials to consider pulling semis off I-4 and I-95 during rush hours and possibly lower the speed limit for big rigs.

"Our findings do not support lane restrictions or lower speeds for trucks on Interstate 4 through the Orlando area," Michael Snyder, district secretary of FDOT District Five, said in the Jan. 2 letter. "Restricting trucks to one or two lanes would impede traffic flow in the urban area due to high traffic volumes and closely spaced interchanges.

"Regarding a lower speed limit for trucks, studies have shown that differential speeds increase certain types of crashes. Therefore maintaining uniform speeds for all vehicles would increase safety by reducing the potential for crashes.

"Our review showed that truck drivers are statistically safer than other motorists on Interstate 4 through Central Florida."

OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer found the report results "refreshing."

"Obviously, this report was clearly based on safety without regard for political pressure," Spencer said.

With regards to I-95, the letter says the task force will review lane restrictions for I-95 once the highway's six-lane projects are complete.

Although Snyder's letter acknowledged "incidents involving trucks are potentially more severe," the letter explained FDOT's proactive efforts to manage such incidents and reduce the impact to traffic flow.
By Rene Tankersley, feature editor