Earlier this month, Representative Reid J. Ribble of Wisconsin introduced a bill called “Safe, Flexible, and Efficient Trucking Act of 2015” (H.R. 3488). HensonFuerst Attorneys has always stood up for truckers, who are often unfairly maligned, and for greater safety of our roadways.
If this bill passes, it will hurt everyone. It will put bigger, heavier trucks on the road, while also creating financial hardship for truckers and small trucking companies. In this can, the name of the bill is the exact opposite of the potential outcome.
Currently, tractor-trailer trucks can be no more than 80,000 pounds. This bill would increase the gross weight of trucks allowed on the road by 11,000 pounds to a total of 91,000. Having heavier trucks means less-safe roadways. When heavy trucks need to respond to changing traffic conditions, they will require longer stopping distances. That means a greater risk of rear-end collisions. And when a wreck does occur, heavier trucks mean more carnage and damage done to the other vehicles in the collision. Heavier truck loads also can lead to greater driver fatigue and error.
In addition, heavier trucks mean that the roadways themselves will incur greater wear and tear and damage. Our highway infrastructure is already failing. This can only lead to unsafe roadway conditions for all of us.
Individual owner operators and small trucking companies seem vehemently opposed to this piece of legislation because it will be a major financial hardship on them—in order to compete with the trucking conglomerates, the smaller companies will have to purchase newer trucks. It also means that they will have less money to invest in safety equipment and training, which leads to less safe roadways. Plus, this is a sneaky way to force drivers to haul more weight for the same amount of pay, making the bill bad for truckers and their families.
We believe H.R. 3488 threatens the safety of our roadways. If you also oppose this bill, please contact your legislators and voice your opposition. Ride Safe!