Feds to take comprehensive look at truck size and weight

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | Thursday, December 20, 2012

The Federal Highway Administration has set out to study truck size and weight and how larger or heavier trucks affect crash risk, infrastructure and cost. Part of the process will involve stakeholder and public input, and OOIDA plans to be at the table.

Congress commissioned the comprehensive size and weight study as part of the MAP-21 highway bill signed into law earlier this year. It’s the first comprehensive study since 2004, and came as a result of successful efforts by OOIDA and others to remove language that would have increased limits above those currently in law. The Federal Highway Administration has reached out to potential study firms to conduct the research.

OOIDA supports the current freeze on truck sizes and weights and opposes measures to increase them.

“This is a process that OOIDA is certainly going to be involved in, making sure that all involved in the study know that the trucking industry is by no means unified about increasing truck size and weight,” OOIDA Director of Legislative Affairs Ryan Bowley said.

“Also, we’ll be focusing on making sure that all the participants in the study recognize that a truck size and weight increase simply means more cost to small-business truckers who would need to make significant investments in new equipment just to remain competitive.”

According to MAP-21 language, the size and weight study will compare accident data, the impact on infrastructure, cost-benefit relationships, safety records and violations among trucks that are within current size and weight limits, and trucks that are allowed to operate overweight or over dimension due to state laws or other exemptions.

The study will also estimate diversion of freight from other modes onto the National Highway System if size and weight were changed, as well as the effects on safety, infrastructure, cost, fuel efficiency, freight costs and the environment.

The Federal Highway Administration is in the process of choosing a firm to conduct the study. Once a firm is chosen, the study will take about two years. If anything related to policy recommendations emerges from the study, it would have to go through Congress.

Copyright © OOIDA

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