Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Study questions truck size, weight increases

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At a morning news conference April 9, 2014 in Washington, D.C., findings from a recent report, An Analysis of Truck Size and Weight Issues, Phase I – Safety, were officially released, detailing the risks and detrimental impacts of increased truck sizes and weights on the nation's roadways and the American motoring public.

The report, conducted at Marshall University by the Multimodal Transportation and Infrastructure Consortium (MTIC), a University Transportation Center recognized by the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA), "found a 15.5% higher fatal crash rate when double trailer trucks are involved in a crash compared to single trailer trucks, and a more than eight times higher fatal crash rate for trucks with six or more axles as compared to those with five axles."

The report's release was timed to coincide with the debate in Congress over renewal of federal surface transportation funding.

A coalition of law enforcement, labor, victims, and health and safety groups presented the study, with House Rep. Jim McGovern (D-Mass.) scheduled to be the point person, in an effort to oppose bigger, heavier trucks and reveal the problems plaguing the U.S. DOT study conducted under MAP-21.

"If continued without changes, the U.S. DOT study will provide an inaccurate and unreliable assessment of safety and infrastructure that will negatively impact a balanced freight policy and endanger the safety of truck drivers and the public for decades to come," the group said in a statement.

"Polls show a majority of the public does not want bigger trucks, nor do they want to pay for them," the group said. "Overweight trucks accelerate the destruction of roads and bridges. One-third of America's roads are in poor or mediocre condition and one-fourth of our nation's bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. Increasing truck weights will make our roads more deadly and create an unfunded mandate of infrastructure repair and maintenance needs paid by taxpayers."

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