overloaded

I wanted to discuss a topic that seems to be gaining a lot of momentum on the internet.  If you haven’t heard, the American Trucking Assosciation is supporting the “Safe and Efficient Transportation Act of 2009”.  This bill authorizes states to allow trucks to haul more weight!  The current gross weight maximum of 80,000 pounds, would increase to 97,000 pounds!  The ATA claims that this will lead to a more efficient operation of commercial trucks.  They are basically saying that it will result in less individual truck loads moved, because you the driver, can fit more product on one trailer.  That, of course will lead to less trucks on the road, which results in safer highways, and cleaner air.

The problem that I have with all of this is, that many shipping groups are getting behind the ATA on this change.  With shippers involved, I’m sure that safety is not the main concern.  What happened when a 45 foot trailer became standard in the industry, then came the 48 foot trailer.  While you’re at it, go from 96 inch wide trailers to 102 inch wide.  Each increase in trailer size logically resulted in more product on your trailer per load.  Did you see a rate increase?  Now drivers could be behind the wheel of 97,000 pounds, which is a 20% increase in gross weight.  I guarantee you that shippers will not increase rates 20%.  That is the reason that the shippers are strongly backing ATA on this bill.  They can move more product, on less trucks, and save big money.

I posted a link to a story in a previous post, “Truck safety from one passenger’s perspective”.  She claims that most truck related accidents could be caused more by the four-wheelers that drive erratically, and cut the big rigs off on a daily basis.  I doubt that having 17000 more pounds of weight on, is going to help a truck stop any faster when somebody cuts a big truck off and slams on the brakes.  Some of our customers now, don’t want us to send trucks in that can’t at least scale 48,000 pounds.  What if they said that they didn’t want a truck to come into their facility unless it could scale at least 65,000 pounds! 

It seems that some of the activists against this, are the type that are just against trucks either way, and blame trucks for most of the accidents on the road.  I disagree with some of their views, but I agree that we should not increase the gross weight to 97,000 pounds.  If you are for the change, I am not writing to persuade you, and change your mind.  I have significantly less experience in this industry than most of the readers here.  Give me your input.  Are you for or against.  If you are against the change, a website has been created to try to help block the bill.  You can sign a petition online at www.StopBiggerTrucks.org

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