Trucking industry stakeholders urge Senate to reject size/weight amendments

By Tyson Fisher, Land Line staff writer | 5/19/2016

A dozen trucking industry stakeholders, including the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, have signed a letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations expressing their opposition to any amendments increasing truck size or weight.

The letter opposes any amendments to the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill (HR2577) that increase truck size or weight, including any provisions that will enable individual states to allow heavier trucks on federal highways. Several groups ranging from trucking to law enforcement request that any proposal be rejected.

In addition to OOIDA, the following groups signed the letter:

  • Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways
  • SMART Transportation Division
  • American Short Line and Regional Railroad Association
  • Truck Safety Coalition
  • Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety
  • National Trooper Coalition
  • Truckload Carriers Association
  • National Railroad Construction & Maintenance Association
  • International Brotherhood of Teamsters
  • Railway Supply Institute
  • Coalition Against Bigger Trucks

Last November, an amendment to the Fixing America’s Surface Transportation Act to increase truck weight to 91,000 pounds was struck down. Approximately one month ago, the U.S. Department of Transportation determined there is insufficient data to recommend any truck size/weight policy changes. The DOT released the same recommendation last June before the study was peer-reviewed.

Also mentioned in the letter is DOT’s consistent resistance to state exceptions.

“They have found that these exemptions have created a piecemeal approach, making enforcement and compliance more difficult and creating unintended consequences for safety and highway infrastructure (2004 DOT Western Uniformity Scenario Analysis),” the letter states.

Citing April’s Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Limits Study, the letter points out heavier trucks had significantly higher crash rates and higher out-of-service violations. Increases in size and weight will also drive small businesses to the ground as they will have to absorb new costs to operating and equipment overhead.

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