A new bill introduced in the U.S. Senate would allow states to increase weight limits on tractor-trailers plying interstate highways. The bill S3705, also called the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act, would allow states to increase the gross vehicle weight limit on 18 wheelers on the Interstate Highway System, to 97,000 pounds from the current 80,000 pounds. The bill would also require that trucks carrying more than 80,000 pounds be equipped with an additional sixth axle in order to compensate for the additional weight and to prevent an increase in stopping distance.
In these dismal economic times, the trucking industry has been looking at ways to cut costs and increase profits, and being able to haul heavier cargo is a great way to do just that. Not that the enhanced profits the industry will reap are even mentioned in the list of advantages of heavier trucks that trucking groups are dishing out. Any New York truck accident attorney or truck safety advocate will tell you that adding additional weight to these already bulky 18 wheelers that are involved in so many serious accidents every year, is dangerous.
Every year, an average of 4,000 people are killed in tractor-trailer accidents. In many of these accidents, truck drivers are simply unable to control a massive rig. As a result, trucks jackknife, flip over or mow into other vehicles with devastating loss of life and property, and serious injuries. Adding additional tonnage to a vehicle like this that drivers already find it challenging to control, is simply adding to the injury and death risk to millions of American motorists, as well as the truckers who drive these vehicles.
Anyone who’s concerned about trucking safety, including New York truck accident lawyers should come out strongly against the passing of the so-called Safe and Efficient Transportation Act. The bill might make trucking more efficient, but it will not make highways safer at all.