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Washington Debates Bigger, Heavier Trucks on Highways

Posted on Feb 22, 2012

The House Transportation Committee debated whether or not federal highways should allow longer, heavier trucks than current regulations allow. The issue is one of many related to the transportation bill that has been written by House Republicans seeking hundreds of reforms. 

The bill would allow trucks to weigh a maximum of 97,000 pounds and measure as long as 110 feet. 

Advocates of the bill, which include some Republicans and members of the trucking industry, argue that some states already allow the larger trucks and that the changes would allow trucking companies to save money by allowing them to move more loads with fewer drivers and fewer trucks. They also say that adding a new extra axel to these heavier trucks would reduce the trucks’ impact on highways and interstates. 

Opponents of the bill fear that these larger and heavier trucks will not only cause more truck accidents but that the accidents would result in more catastrophic crashes, more serious injuries, and more truck accident fatalities. They also worried about the trucking reform’s impact on the rail industry. 

The debate was not split along party lines. In the end, the group voted 33-22 to wait to amend the bill in order to allow a three-year study to examine the consequences of having larger trucks on the country’s roads.