Do bigger trucks mean more accidents?

Truck move America. At any moment, hundreds of thousands of trucks are moving goods across the country. As part of legislation dealing with transportation needs for the future, Congress has requested that the prospect of larger trucks be considered. These trucks would allow more goods to be transported, and in theory lower the costs. At least, for some entities. The price the rest of us could be wind up paying, however, could be much higher.

Some of the opposition to the proposal comes from a somewhat unexpected quarter: truck drivers. The Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), an association of independent truck drivers sees the potential for more truck accidents resulting from these larger trucks. 

The proposal would permit trucks to increase to 97,000 lbs on six-axles. Trucks this size today are considered heavy hauls and are a specialized area of trucking. The size and complexity of these larger trucks demands a more experienced driver.

Because many trucking companies rely on technology to maintain safety, driver experience and training is discounted. And when the technology fails? The inexperienced truck driver simply cannot cope and you do not want to be in a vehicle next to that truck when that happens.

The OOIDA argues that these trucks also will damage the country's aging infrastructure, as the larger trucks will place more stress roads and bridges.

Because many of these old bridges are too narrow or cannot support the larger loads, the supersized trucks would be restricted to fewer roads, and they would place even more stress on those routes, damaging that modern infrastructure.

Source: Land Line magazine, "Supersized trucks? The professionals on the road say no,” David Tanner, June 6, 2013

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