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Mercertown Blog

SAFE & EFFICIENT TRANSPORTATION ACT PART 2

Monday, February 21st, 2011 9 comments

For those of you that have been following the blog for a couple of years now, you know all about the Safe & Efficient Transportation Act.  If you don’t know, if passed it will allow the federal gross weight limit to be increased from 80,000 pounds to 97,000 pounds.  Most of you know that I think that this bill is ridiculous.  You can read my previous blog post on this, when it was attempted the first time (http://mercertownblog.wordpress.com/2009/10/20/safe-and-efficient-transportation-act-of-2009/).

Now the House is trying to reintroduce this bill, which in my opinion, only helps one group, and that is the shipper.  With this act, trucks will be allowed to haul weights that will bring their gross vehicle weight up to 97,000 pounds.  But before you do that you will have to add an axle to your trailer.  Yep that’s right…More tires, brakes, wheel seals, etc. to worry about so a shipper can squeeze a little more product on the trailer.  Wonder if the load will pay better since it’s heavier…oh yeah…who really pays on weight anymore?

The driving force for this bill is said to be efficiency.  Experts say that maximizing the space on an empty trailer, and adding more product to each shipment, can reduce the amount of trucks needed, and in turn, reduces total fuel consumption.  I question that increasing a truck’s overall gross weight by 17,000 pounds will reduce consumption though.  Strap another 17,000 pounds to the back of your SUV, and see what your fuel mileage looks like then.

The biggest argument against this bill is safety.  The backers of this bill claim that the extra axle, and brakes would be adequate enough to help control the rig with extra weight.  What do you think?  Many of our guys have hauled permitted over weight loads before.  Can a driver fresh out of school, be prepared enough for that kind off weight if they need to stop on a dime?

We also need to consider the wear and tear on the roadways, and bridges.  Many say that our roads can handle this kind of weight on trucks.

There is a very good chance this law could get passed.  The general public doesn’t have a clue about how much this would affect their safety.  Supporters are going to through out statistics of efficiency, and lower fuel consumption which most people will be in favor of.  No matter what side you are on with this bill, you need to speak up.

Check out http://stopbiggertrucks.org/.  If you sign up with your email, they will send you updates on this bill, and what you can do to help fight it.  I have already signed up, and they do not send you any junk mail.  The website looks a little anti-truck on the surface, but they are working hard to educate people on the dangers of heavier trucks.

I’ll keep you all posted on this as time goes by, since I know that it is a hot-button topic for you all.  Fire away in the comments section and lets hear what you have to say about it.  Have a great day, and go Mercer!

9 comments

  1. Anyone that thinks this is smarter or safer is more then welcome to get in my truck and go for a ride. First we will go on a ride with my gross at say 60,000lb and then we’ll go on a seond ride with my gross at 80,000lb. The truck drives, handles, accelerates and stops completely different and the driving style has to change considerably. Arent trucks creeping up the grapevine slow enough and breaking down in the process enough already with a mere 80,000 lb load? whats 97,000 gonna do to these up hill battles. Better get out there and rebuild runaway truck ramps too because they were designed for an 80000lb truck to come rolling in…deeper gravel/sand and maybe longer ramps for the additional speed that an extra 17000lb will create?

  2. So split speed for trucks will go where? 40 MPH? With EOBR those loads will take weeks for delivery.
    I’m not pulling any of that. We got enough with the length and weight of trucks right now.
    If shippers wants to safe fuel and be more efficient they need to cut the loading and unloading time off at their docks.
    I think that all this has to do with a particular product, because there are not to much space left in a 53 ‘ trailer loaded with 45000 lbs.

  3. Wow, trucking is going down instead of up. This subject is so argumentitive thats its stupid,you are right in the fact it only benefits the shipper,less shipping cost at the O/O expense, there is no fuel savings in hauling heavier weight,you can get it going but stopping is the issue, one more axle won’t solve the problem! Until someone in this industry realizes that own portion of the pie is the smallest then I for one won’t haul heavier weight at cost cutter prices! Our rate per mile should equal the cost per gallon of diesel! Guess its true that the big companies are pushing us out and the railroad boast’s of hauling more freight for less money…what a shame. I’ve never seen a train,ship or airplane show up at a grocery store,gas station or machinery company, when will it be enough for us to truely come together? An industry I love is getting trashed and the fun has drained away…….

  4. Wendy and I don’t even truck any more and find this bill to be dangerous to all involved. The unions and the walmarts of the world have taken control of trucking. The owner operators are going to have to step up and take the time to address these issues as they come. It is only then that they will retake some form of control. Go Mercer.

  5. i keep coming back to this to read the comments. everytime i come back i get more and more frustrated with the stupidity of this whole issue. i could sit here and write a book but ill spare all of you as im sure the same thoughts run through your heads. i have one of the bigger cats under the hood w/3.70 rears and i am not about to start fighting hills with that kind of weight and waiting for my truck to blow up or catch fire. id like to see company trucks run these loads with their little motors and 3.35 fuel efficient rears make it up the hills with 97000lb. the first time someone misses a gear climbing a hill its gonna cause a pile up. the people making decisions just dont understand the many different negative implications this kind of weight will cause

  6. This is just a guess but I’ll bet you that the folks that came up with this nitemare are the same ones that jack with the hours of service. These people (and I use that term loosly) have no clue about the real world, have never been around driven or ridden in a truck and are the same ones that cut us off, get rid of rest areas and complain about us being in their city.
    I WILL NOT haul that junk, WILL NOT alter my equipment to accomidate a shipper in that manner. “Loaded like a freight train, dispatched like an airplane” is humor, not an idea to be acted on by government.

  7. Never has there been a more unsafe or a clearly self motivated bill to come into trucking, personally Im disgusted theyre even considering it. Tsk Tsk where all those safety groups and anti truck cry babies at now when finally there is a issue worth throwin a fit about a bill worth the media attention or public awareness vote/poll. Think about this that same tired truck plows into a school only this time at 63mph and fully loaded. How many children are scraped off the pavement or even humor whats the survival rates in the different collision scenarios now? Wheres the law makers who push HOS revisions csa2010 and eobr regulations at now, safety is there forfront while here is a primed up no secrets no scandals lies or arguments case all gift wrapped with a pretty lil bow!

  8. You are all ridiculous. To see you whining about things you know nothing about. I’m 21 years old and pull 137,000 lbs on b trains (8 axle configuration) in Canada and have been for 3 years. I’ve got a 550 cat with 3.90 rears and my truck has never even overheated. I pull these loads through the mountains and never have problems with anything. Also I’m not sure how comparing the addition of 17,000 lbs to your SUV has anything to do with adding it to your tractor trailer. If you know how to drive your rig you’ll be fine if you don’t then you shouldn’t be on the highways.