Poll: Most Americans are opposed to heavier and longer trucks

The trucking industry is pushing for greater weight limits on trucks despite widespread opposition.

A number of trucking industry lobby groups are pushing state lawmakers to explore allowing heavier and longer trucks to operate on roads and highways. As the Washington Examiner reports, those lobby groups are advocating for the establishment of a pilot program in a number of states that would permit trucks weighing up to 91,000 pounds to operate on those states' roads and highways. The proposal has been met with criticism from a number of different groups, including safety experts and state and municipal authorities. They warn that the larger vehicles are more likely to be involved in truck accidents and will lead to rapid deterioration of roads and bridges.

Pilot program proposed at state level

The pilot program proposal calls for a handful of states to study the overall impact that allowing 91,000-pound, six-axle trucks would have. Currently, trucks are subject to an 80,000-pound weight limit. The trucking industry lobby attempted to get Congress to increase that weight limit to 91,000 pounds last year, but that proposal was rejected over safety fears.

As a result, lobbyists are trying to accomplish the same increase in weight limits through state legislatures rather than through Congress. The pilot program is largely seen as a first step towards eventually permitting 91,000-pound trucks on roads and highways throughout the country.

Safety and infrastructure concerns

However, the proposed increase is opposed by many safety groups. As the Kansas City Star reports, 79 percent of Americans recently polled said they are opposed to longer and heavier trucks. The U.S. Department of Transportation also found that bigger trucks take longer to come to a complete stop and have "consistently higher" accident rates than smaller trucks.

There is also widespread concern about the impact larger trucks would have on infrastructure, especially on local roads and bridges. Heavier trucks tend to increase the rate at which such infrastructure deteriorates. While heavy trucks primarily use interstate freeways, they begin and end their journeys on local roads. Many local authorities are already strapped for cash and warn they do not have the funds to address the damage that larger vehicles would cause. In Missouri, for example, the state is already $2 billion behind in repairs to bridges and roads and nearly 900 bridges in the state are in need of refurbishment.

Help after an accident

For those who have been hurt in an accident, particularly one involving a truck or other commercial vehicle, it is important to talk to a personal injury attorney right away. Truck accidents involve complicated liability claims that extend well beyond the drivers themselves. Accident victims co uld find themselves up against a large trucking company's team of lawyers, which is why such victims need their own attorney who will fight aggressively on their behalf for whatever compensation they may be entitled to.