Congress Debates Increasing Tractor-Trailer Weight Limits
Penn Live reports that Congress is considering legislation that would increase the weight of trucks on interstate highways to 97,000 pounds, a 21 percent rise from 80,000, the current limit.
Those in favor of the proposed changes say that heavier trucks would mean fewer trucks on the road, which would also lead to cleaner air since less fuel will be consumed. However, opponents say that heavier trucks would make the roads less safe for other motorists and that accidents that involve the heavier trucks would be more deadly.
Currently, states set the weight limits for their own roads. Each state would need to pass legislation to allow heavier trucks on their interstates within their borders. This could complicate trucking routes should some states approve the weight increase and others do not.
The Pennsylvania Department of Transportation has said it will review the effect heavier tractor-trailers would have on the state’s interstate highways. In Pennsylvania, trucks that weigh 100,000 pounds are able to travel on the Pennsylvania Turnpike without a permit. However, unless they have a permit, they aren’t able to exit the turnpike to travel on interstates and other roads in the state. Tractor-trailers that weigh over 80,000 pounds are able to travel on state interstates only by permit. If that weight is exceeded, a government permit and an escort vehicle are needed, as is typically the case with flatbed trucks that are loaded with heavy equipment.
The proposed legislation would also require trucks to have more axles in order to better distribute the increased weight, and to have an improved braking system. Experts estimate it would cost between $6,000 to $10,000 per truck to add the additional axles and updated brakes to meet the new safety requirements for trucks with higher weight limits.
If you have been injured in a truck accident in Pennsylvania, contact the Philadelphia truck accident lawyers at Cherry Fieger & Marciano, LLP. We can help you determine whether a truck driver’s negligence or defective truck part contributed to your accident, and we will compile a strong case on your behalf in order for you to obtain the compensation you need to continue living your life. For a free consultation, call 1-888-684-7192 today.