Today’s commercial carrier trucking industry is seeing its share of controversies, one of which involves truck weight reform and if an increase in truck weight limits should be approved. Advocates for the increase tout the many positive ways it would affect the trucking industry and safety as a whole, preventing I-45 big rig crashes. Some safety specialists and trucking accident attorneys feel that approving the increase would be detrimental. I-45 truck crash attorneys agree that there are valid points to both sides of the argument.
Truck Weight Limit Reform – The Issue
Control over interstate truck weight limits is the responsibility of each individual state. As a result, some states permit trucks weighing up to 97,000 lbs. on their interstate highways, while others restrict weight to 80,000 lbs. This lack of standardization is both confusing and costly in many ways, which is the reason behind why the American Trucking Association has asked Congress to legalize the higher weight limits on all interstates.
The Argument For Truck Weight Reform
The main factors in the argument for increasing truck weight limits in all states include: increased safety from reduced 18 wheeler crashes on I-45 and other roadways; lower vehicle emissions; greater efficiency; and lower overall costs. Trucking accident attorneys suggest that states allow higher weights on interstate roads and keep heavy trucks away from smaller roads less equipped to handle such traffic. This could result in a significant drop in highway fatalities attributed to heavy trucks. An example of this is the fact the state of Maine experienced only 131 trucking-related fatalities in 2014, which was three years after that state approved the truck weight reform measure; it was the lowest recorded number of trucking fatalities since 1944.
Other suggested benefits of allowing trucks to carry more cargo with fewer road restrictions include: reduce the shortage of qualified tractor trailer drivers; greater fuel and roadway efficiency; and less truck traffic. Smaller roads not designed for use by heavy rigs would see less damage and fewer trucking accidents. Standardization of weight limits, truck sizes, and axle loads have also been suggested as a way to increase safety and weight limit compliance.
The Argument Against Truck Weight Reform
I-45 truck crash attorneys assert that while there seems to be some evidence that safety on smaller roads is increased when bigger trucks stay on the interstate, much of the motivation against truck weight reform is financially-based. Although most agree that smaller roads are not able to withstand heavy truck traffic, many argue that adding to the traffic load on interstates will only create road maintenance headaches and increased costs there. Other parts of the shipping industry, such as freight train lines, argue the truck weight reform measure would take up to 19 percent of business away from the rail industry. Others suggest this type of standardization that includes trucks and trailers, would be cost-prohibitive and unenforceable, with the end result of fines and other inefficiencies being added to the equation.
The question of increasing truck weight limits on all interstates through an updated truck weight reform measure has been going on for more than twenty years, with advocates for both sides raising very valid points. Trucking accident attorneys say that although there is some indication that reinstating this measure could help reduce 18-wheeler crashes on interstate highways, there are also substantial negatives to consider. While I-45 truck crash attorneys, and others involved in the trucking industry, agree that safety is a prime concern, updated truck weight reform must be implemented so that it does not negatively affect other parts of the industry. Issues between the two sides of this argument continue to be the stumbling block preventing nationwide acceptance of such trucking reform!
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