Congressional proposal would force states to allow 84-ft trucks

A federal proposal would force all states to allow 84-foot trucks on their highways, a move some say is dangerous.

Critics say longer double-trailer trucks pose serious safety concerns

The U.S. Congress is considering whether to pass a proposal that would force states to allow 84-foot double-trailer trucks on their highways, according to USA Today. The proposal comes on the back of pressure by the trucking industry, which claims larger trucks will reduce congestion and improve efficiency. Safety critics, however, are alarmed by the possible change, claiming that, in the event of a truck accident, the larger vehicles have a higher fatality rate than shorter trucks. They have also raised concerns about the damage the longer vehicles could cause to roads and bridges, which could lead to higher maintenance costs and dangerous roadways for all drivers.

Road train proposal

The proposal, which comes as Congress is debating broader legislation concerning transportation funding and safety, would make it mandatory for all states to allow what are referred to as “Twin 33s”-that is, a truck pulling two 33-foot trailers. Right now, only 11 states permit “Twin 33s” on their roads and highways. Current limits in the other 39 states permit trucks to tow two 28-foot trailers. If passed, the proposal would mean that a truck carrying two 33-foot trailers could total up to 84 feet in length, or what some call a “road train”.

Trucking companies, which have pushed for the change, argue that allowing longer trucks on the road will reduce congestion, thus increasing traffic flow for everyone and leading to improved performance for deliveries. They also argue that less traffic will mean less damage to roads and bridges.

Safety concerns raised

As the Observer-Reporter notes, however, many of those claims are disputed by traffic safety advocates. They note that it is more difficult for drivers to pass and merge safely in the longer trucks. They also point out that accidents involving single-trailer trucks are less likely to be fatal than those involving multiple-trailer vehicles. Concerns have particularly been raised about longer trucks navigating mountain roads, particularly during inclement weather.

Additionally, the claim that longer trailers would result in less damage to roads has also been challenged. The U.S. Department of Transportation, for example, says that permitting the longer vehicles would result in damage to roads and bridges that would total approximately $2 billion. That extra damage could make roads more treacherous for all drivers.

Hurt in a truck crash?

Hundreds of people are killed and thousands more are injured each month in truck accidents across the country. For victims of these devastating accidents, the road to recovery can be a long and difficult one, not least because of the high expenses, such as medical bills and lost wages, that victims often incur after a crash. Receiving compensation can be vital in helping to pay these bills, but truck accident cases are particularly complex and receiving full compensation can be difficult without the proper assistance. A personal injury attorney who is experienced in handling these cases can help fight for the compensation victims of a truck accident may deserve.