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Businesses and Western Governors Press to Increase Truck Weight and Size Limit

Increase would cause drastic spike in truck accident fatalities

More than 150 companies, including Kraft, Coca Cola and MillerCoors, are lobbying Congress to increase the weight limit on trucks traveling interstate highways, The Wall Street Journal reported on August 16.

The companies would like to increase weight limits from 80,000 to 97,000 pounds, or almost 20%.

At the same time, a coalition of Western state governors is asking Congress to allow more doubles and triples – multiple tractor trailers hitched together, that can span up to 120 feet – on the federal highways in their states. Current law limits trucks on the interstate to no more than 53 feet in length.

When it comes to accidents, there is a strong correlation between the size of the truck and the severity of the accident. A study done by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute showed that a truck weighing 80,000 pounds is 50%-100% more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than a truck weighing 50,000 to 65,000 pounds. Trucks weighing more than 80,000 pounds are even more likely to have serious accidents.

More importantly, larger, heavier are trucks are less safe for the nation’s highways and for the nation’s motorists. The Minnesota bridge collapse in 2007, for example, was partially caused by excessive weight crossing the bridge. With trucks able to weigh up to 20%, how many other bridges would be in danger of collapse?

Each year, nearly 5,000 people are killed in truck accidents; another 100,000 are injured. How does it make sense for Congress to make it easier to drive larger, heavier trucks, which are likely to cause more accidents and injure more people? Fortunately, there is another bill in Congress, one which would freeze truck sizes at their current limits.

Supporters of the increased weight and size limits argue that they would help the economy and reduce the truck companies’ carbon footprint. These are valid goals, to be sure, but they can’t be accomplished at the expense of the safety of innocent motorists.

At Munley Law Personal Injury Attorneys, we believe that Congress must put safety first and we urge its members to reject the increased weight and size limits. Our truck litigation team is nationally recognized for our expertise in state and federal trucking regulations, and our lawyers are often selected to train other attorneys on trucking litigation.

If you have been injured or lost a loved one in an accident with a tractor trailer or semi truck, the truck accident attorneys of Munley Law are ready to be your legal advocate. Contact us today or use our convenient contact form for a free consultation. We accept and resolve major trucking injury cases nationwide.

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