It’s common knowledge and has been for decades that the majority of truckers, especially long haul truckers oppose have higher weight limits since the last weight increase from about 73,280 pounds to 80,000 pounds occurred 30 years ago. The primary reasons drivers are against putting more weight in their trailers are pretty obvious.
First of all, the added weight results in greater wear and tear on their equipment. Added weight also results in increased consumption of diesel fuel and less miles per gallon. Equally important is the guys and gals behind the wheel of big rigs realized hauling more weight with the negatives just mentioned, certainly doesn’t mean they will be receiving more money in the form of higher freight rates.
This said, the rest of the information below is mostly what is coming from the other side of this issue.
New federal legislation that would give states the option to raise the Interstate system truck weight limit to 91,000 pounds for vehicles with six axles is supported by 32 organization such as United Fresh Produce Association, the National Potato Council and groups representing other industries such as food, manufacturing, beverage and forestry industries.
The group sent a letter in support of heavier trucks to Chmn. Bill Shuster (R-Pa.) and Ranking Member Peter DeFazio (D-Ore.) of the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.
The legislation was introduced by U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble, R-Wis., and is called the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act (H.R. 3488, known as SETA). Supporters claim the bill that is consistent with safety concerns and say heavier trucks won’t harm highways and bridges. They also state the legislation would result in fewer trucks to move more product in a safe way, thus reducing truck traffic.
With nearly 70% of all U.S. freight moved by trucks and total freight tonnage expected to grow nearly 25% over the next 10 years. This legislation claims it will increase truck capacity by 13% without adding more vehicles and ultimately reduce energy use and greenhouse gas emissions.
They also state the higher weight limit would reduce transportation costs for fresh produce.
“With trucking being the overwhelmingly dominant mode of domestic transport for fresh fruits and vegetables, it is imperative that our industry be able to move commodities by promoting efficiency and cost-savings, as well as safety and maintaining infrastructure as much as possible,” read a statement issued by the United Fresh Produce Association.
This will be a key component of the transportation message that United Fresh will deliver to Congress at the Sept. 28-30 Washington, D.C. Conference by United Fresh.
The letter previously mentioned referenced a recent study revealing a 91,000 pound truck with six axles can stop at the same distance traveling at 60 miles per hour as its 80,000 pound counterpart with five axles. NPC believes the study proves that truck weight reform is a commonsense and safe approach to lower the number of truck miles driven, improve highway safety and reduce wear to pavement. Rep. Ribble plans to offer H.R. 3488 as an amendment to the transportation act for highway funding.