Monday, July 21, 2008

Weighing in on heavier trucks

The ATA and their big business allies have once again started to push Congress to allow longer, heavier truckers onto our nation’s highways, pushing for increases in both size and weight.

While the push this time is portrayed as a “green” effort – one that will cut back on fuel use and emissions – in fact, the whole thing is once again all about allowing carriers to move more freight with one truck and not pay the trucker one extra dime.

On top of that, there are plenty of reasons to oppose it. One of the chief ones is the wear and tear that the larger, heavier rigs will put on our already overtaxed and undermaintained highways.

Our current highways were built with 80,000 pound trucks in mind, so we have every reasonable expectation that they can take that weight.

Even those that were initially built in an earlier era have been repaved and rebuilt since 80,000 pounds became the standard.

However, not one of those highways was designed with trucks as large as what’s being proposed in mind.

What’s more, those roads were not designed to accommodate those trucks in terms of safety factors.

What do they propose we do? Rebuild every road out there to accommodate the new, larger trucks? It’s bad enough that they expect every single owner-operator to buy new equipment – not only new trailers, but also tractors that have enough power to haul the larger load efficiently.

We’re fine where we are, and our current weight and length standards should stay as they are.

That is OOIDA’s stance, and the Association is working hard to get that message across to our elected representatives.