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 (https://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!