If lobbying efforts by the trucking industry and shipping groups are successful, highways in several states, including Texas, could see heavier tractor-trailers plying their roads. A piece of legislation that is being supported heavily by the trucking industry would increase the weight limits on commercial trucks, making for bulkier and heavier trucks on our highways.
The legislation is called the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act. Under the bill, the maximum weight of commercial trucks on our highways would increase from the 80,000 pounds currently in place to 97,000 pounds. Supporters of the legislation include trucking companies who believe that the measure will dramatically increase trucking efficiency.
According to the industry, it is important to focus on efficiency right now because of the recession. Further, the trucking industry insists that when trucks are allowed to haul more weight, they will be required to make fewer trips to carry the same freight, making for less wear and tear on the highways. This will lower highway maintenance costs.
The legislation is supported by shipping groups and other vested interests who have banded together to form the Coalition for Transportation Productivity. According to the group, whose members include Home Depot and Hershey, heavier trucks would increase efficiency, and would not impact motorist safety.
However, as Texas truck accident lawyers, we have been very concerned about the effect that these larger tractor-trailers will have on road safety. This year, there was an increase in truck accident deaths over last year, and it is quite safe to assume that the risk of severely injurious trucking accidents will only increase when we have bulkier and heavier truck drivers on the highway.