Proposal to allow bigger trucks on highways

Big trucks on the highway could get even bigger if Congress allows increases in length and weight limits.

The measure is currently being considered by a committee.

Truck industry leaders want weight limits bumped to 129,000 pounds per load, a 60 percent increase over the 80,000 pound limitations in place today.

Those for the changes say they could ease traffic congestion with fewer trucks needed on the road. Lengthening trucks by 10 feet could allow some companies to triple the trailers being carried. Right now, North Carolina allows some trucks to carry two trailers.

The move is being fought by the North Carolina Trooper Association and a group called the Truck Safety Coalition.

Coalition members say change is being pushed for ahead of the results from a study underway right now examining the effect of heavier and longer loads.

“It’s nothing but the powerful special interest of the trucking industry slamming all this stuff through and we’re paying for it with our lives,” said Jennifer Tiereney with the advocacy group. Tiereney testified against a similar move 2 years ago in Washington D.C.

She believes even if there are fewer trucks on the road as a result of heavier loads the number of deadly accidents could still increase.

“They are more dangerous, they are more unstable,” said Tierneney. “If they’re the double trailers like we have in North Carolina they have the ‘crack the whip’ effect.”

Giving big trucks another 10 feet could also hurt the state’s highway infrastructure according to the state troopers association.

“North Carolina’s bridges and roadways are aging and not designed to tolerate heavier weights,” said Danny Jenkins, vice president of the North Carolina Troopers Association.

Jenkins said heavier trucks have traditionally meant more damage to roads and bridges that the industry is not paying for.

“We simply cannot subsidize the operation of some trucking companies while they destroy our infrastructure,” said Jenkins. “Heavier trucks in North Carolina would accelerate this snowball effect.”

18 comments

  • Sinner Frank

    If you think the roads are bad now wait till the weight limits go that high !! Are the present semi’s even rated to pull that much weight !!

  • Steve Briston

    Bad bad bad idea, we dont need more of those eye sores causin pile ups, tippin over backin up traffic, polluttin the air More.

  • Jon

    I’m a truck driver now. I think it is a bad idea the trucks now are not able to stop that much weight. It has nothing to do with a eyesore.

  • Jon

    For the person that said it was a eyesore clogging up traffic. How does your food and clothes get hauled?

  • just me

    I travel I-40 every morning on the way to work. The truck drivers are just like us. Sleepy and in a morning fog. Multiple times trucks and trailers have drifted over lane lines. I respect truckers and give them room and lanes when they use their signals to get over. But giving them more truck and more weight is a bad idea. Nothing against the drivers but a small mistake just got bigger. The roads in N.C. are awful with or without trucks. Go down your neighborhood streets. No trucks come down my roads and we have our share of potholes.

  • Andrew Harris

    I’ve been a truck driver for 18 years. I’ve pulled heavy and over dimentional loads. I lived and ran out of NC for 12 years. There are double and triple trailers being pulled safely in many other states. Michigan, where I live and drive now, has trucks that weigh 160,000 to 200,000 lbs driving on our roads every day. Increasing the length and weight of trucks won’t be as simple as you make it sound. The equipment will be designed to handle the difference. It will help keep down cost, traffic, and most likely accidents. Inexperienced drivers will not be in these larger trucks.

  • observer10

    There is already a substitute for multiple trailers pulled by a truck. It is commonly known as a railroad train. They run on dedicated tracks with limited interaction with passenger vehicles.

    • Wes Baggett

      Do you have a rail siding beside your house, how do you think they get products from the rail to the warehouses

  • whatdidIread

    This reporter couldn’t even bother to properly spell the name of one of the people prominently featured in this piece. The person who is associated with the Truck Safety Coalition is Jennifer Tierney.

  • Thomas Noell

    As a conservative, I think current limits on truck size are adequate and one regulation that is needed to ensure the safety of truckers and other motorists/passengers that must share the road with them at 55-70 mph.

  • Mark Stabler

    So 53 foot trailer are now going to become 63 foot trailers and overall lenght is going to be unlimited? Of course these extra big units always start out being restricted to interstate highways. Well they have to get to where they will be loaded and then where they will be unloaded. So exceptions will be made and the next thing you know they are trying to deliver products to downtown businesses through small, congested streets. All this in reducing the cost of shipping so they can gross 129,000 pounds instead of 80,000 pounds. If you think roads are in a bad shape now…just wait. And if you think they will only be on interstate and four lane highways…you are truly living in la la land.

  • tamip

    Car drivers disrespect truckers now as it is. Imagine if the same trucks are double in weight but the attitudes of car drivers doesnt change. Not good combination. I drive and these cars cut me off several hundred times a day. Only a matter of time when their luck runs out.

    • SickandTired

      Do you also pull out onto busy roads, in front of cars that are going 60 mph, and take your sweet old time shifting those gears? Do you also change lanes on the highway and almost swipe other cars, without signalling? Do you also ride the bumper of cars, in a threatening way, to get them to move out of your way? Do you also “punish” car drivers by blocking them into their lane, along with other truckers, because the car driver has the audacity to think they have as much right to be on the road as you do? Truckers are not some kind of saints, they also do their fair share of bad driving.

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