A new law in Iowa permits the largest trucks traveling along certain routes in the state to pack more freight. It takes effect July 1.
Currently, Iowa law permits six- and seven-axle vehicles hauling livestock or some construction loads, such as rock or soil, to weigh more than 80,000 pounds. Affected loads on six-axle vehicles can weigh up to 90,000 pounds while seven-axle loads can weigh up to 96,000 pounds. The heavier loads are permitted only on non-interstate highways.
Despite opposition from truckers, on Thursday, April 15, Gov. Chet Culver signed into law a bill authorizing all commodities loaded on trucks with six or seven axles to haul another 16,000 pounds. Loads on interstate highways will continue to be limited to 80,000 pounds.
Culver touted the benefits of fewer trucks, saying it would mean less wear and tear on roads.
Truckers say that justification is hogwash. The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association previously issued a Call to Action opposing the bill – HF2512 – because of concerns about letting heavier trucks loose on Iowa’s roadways. OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer said the decision to pass the bill will only worsen the wear and tear on roads.
“What we’re seeing here is an all-too-common example of how truck weights are ratcheted up. Exemptions are made for certain commodities and then the list is expanded to include other commodities,” Spencer said.
Spencer pointed out that the roads these heaviest trucks will be running on weren’t built for vehicles carrying that much weight. Resulting problems will include premature highway deterioration, increased maintenance costs and safety concerns.
He said there is a harsh reality awaiting highway users.
“It won’t be long until the locals and others will be screaming about bigger trucks running on local roads, skinny highways and even residential areas and school zones. The result is likely to be increased enforcement, increased harassment and eventually considerably higher fees on all trucks.”
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