Congress considering letting states raise truck weight limits

By Jill Dunn on

oversizedFor the fifth consecutive year, Congress is considering legislation to allow states to increase truck weights on Interstates to 97,000 pounds.

On Feb. 12, Rep. Mike Michaud introduced the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act or H.R. 612. The next day, the Maine Democrat’s bill was referred to committee with 10 co-sponsors.

Allowing the higher weight also requires these heavier tractor-trailers have a sixth axle, which would decrease per-tire weight. Proponents say this would equalize braking capacity and stopping distance of heavier trucks with trucks weighing less than 80,000 pounds.

In letters sent to every House member, the Owner-Operator Operator Independent Drivers Association argued against the legislation, while the American Trucking Associations outlined its support.

OOIDA said the change would negatively impact equipment costs and safety.

“While proponents talk about savings from heavier trucks, for the small business truckers that make up more than 90 percent of the trucking industry, heavier trucks only mean higher fuel, repair, and equipment costs, including the likelihood of spending tens of thousands of dollars on new trailers designed to haul the heavier weight simply to remain competitive,” the association wrote.

The House transportation committee rejected a similar measure included in the omnibus highway bill Congress approved last July. Instead, it passed an amendment requiring the Department of Transportation to conduct a comprehensive truck size and weight study, OOIDA noted.

Conversely, the ATA asserted numerous studies indicated the change would not decrease safety. The measure also would save fuel while reducing emissions and congestion.

Additionally, trucks operating above federal limits have used highways for decades in states where grandfather clauses exist. But states lacking these clauses force trucks exceeding the federal limit off Interstates and onto roads with lower safety and construction quality, the ATA wrote.

The bill also would make permanent Maine’s pilot program, which allows 100,000 pounds trucks to use Maine’s entire Interstate system. Before the program, this only was authorized on the Maine Turnpike and from its southerly terminus to the New Hampshire line.

6 comments
All owner opps
All owner opps

companies want to compete by taking more freight for less to gain the load but im NOT a carrier im an O/O and my truck only gets 6.5 mpg and I get 90 cpm, so more weight does not do me any favors, I would get less fuel mileage and take the same loads, this is not good from that point, but lets look at the state that is famous for heavy loads, Michigan, has those trucks with all the axles on them, and the roads are tore up from the snow and the weight. this is the other point. People WAKE UP, they (companies that are bigger then 1000 trucks) will be able to afford these new trailers and will be able to offer more freight moved for the same price a smaller company running a 53' two axle trailer can. this will help to weed out the smaller companies and put the independents out all together. 

 

with the new HOS, weight limits, fuel prices, taxes, and enforcemets (i.e. black box and GPS) this is the end of the trucking industry as we know it, welcome to J.B. Hunt land. 

sad days ahead, 

truckstuff
truckstuff

I agree with kcame1. I am a NY owner and if a person doesn't have an overweight permit for bulk commodities that person isn't going to make it for very long. We are permitted for 107,000 and she is right  the shippers think "more weight, less rate"

ED HOLT
ED HOLT

I AGREE THEY SHOULD GO 97000 LBS. ON THE INTERSTATE ROADS AS OUR TRUCKS ARE ALL 6 - 7 AXLES AND HAUL 90000 TO 96000 LBS . THE MORE AXLES AND BRAKES YOU HAVE THE EASIER IT IS TO STOP I KEEP MY EQUIPMENT UP AND SAFE . WHEN I STARTED HAULING HEAVY WITH MORE I FOUND THAT YOU COULD STOP EASIER WITH 6 - 7 AXLES AT 90000OR MORE THAN 5 AXLES AT 8000 I'VE TOLD OOIDA THIS BUT THEY ARE TO STUPID TO UNDERSTAND THIS EVEN WHEN THE LAW HAS CONFIRMED IT IN BLACK AND WHITE THEN THEIR TO ME WAS THEN THE SHIPPERS WILL HAVE HAUL MORE FOR 1980RATES SO I ASK THEM WHAT THEIR POINT WAS AS WE'RE HAULING 80000 LBS AT THE RATES FOR 73280 LBS THEIR COMMENT TO ME WAS THEY HUNG UP ON ME SO I WAS RIGHT THEY ARE WRONG  ALL MY SHIPPERS PAY FOR THE WEIGHT I HAUL SO LETS GET THAT 97000 LBS WEIGHT LAW PASSED                                                                                                 

 

BIG ED HTS LLC

kcame1
kcame1

i seem this happen to coals truck,they was going to make more money, it did not happen rates went lower  more weight  lower rates

kcame1
kcame1

 @kcame1  i  was coal hauler in ky  i with you more weight  les money. thats what you will get

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