Heavier Truck Loads Could Raise Risk of North Carolina Trucking Accidents

The Citizen-Times recently reported on the efforts of a 23-year veteran of the North Carolina Highway Patrol to keep truck weights from increasing.

Our North Carolina personal injury lawyers of Asheville and elsewhere know that raising truck weights could raise the risk of North Carolina trucking accidents.

Trooper Ron Crawford, president of the North Carolina Troopers Association, has seen plenty of horrific accidents involving big rigs. This is why he strongly opposes any changes to the maximum weight requirements. He traveled to Capitol Hill in an attempt to convince North Carolina’s members of Congress to reject legislation that would loosen restrictions on the semi trucks. He is scheduled to meet with North Carolina U.S. Reps. Walter Jones, Heath Shuler, Renee Ellmers, Larry Kissell and Howard Coble, along with state Sens. Kay Hagan and Richard Burr.

“Our message is all about keeping the citizens of North Carolina safe,” said Crawford, who is assigned to Madison County. “The last thing we need on our roads is heavier, larger trucks.”

Federal law prohibits on most federal highways loaded trucks heavier than 80,000 pounds and longer than 53 feet. Bills pending in the House and Senate would give states the option to increase the weight limit to 97,000 pounds. Trucks would also be able to have up to three trailers hitched together. This is part of the first Highway Reauthorization package in more than six years. The American Trucking Association is a big supporter of the bills, saying bigger loads would increase the efficiency of transporting goods and decrease truck traffic on the roads.

“Many shippers hit the 30-year-old federal weight limit with significant space left in their rigs and must use more truckloads, fuel and vehicle miles than necessary to get products to market,” said John Runyan, director of the Coalition for Transportation Productivity.

Those opposed to heavier trucks counter that taxpayers will be paying for road repairs, the potential for damage to bridges will rise, and the heavier and larger trucks present a great risk to motorists. Crawford told the story of a tractor trailer rounding a curve on U.S. 19, barely missing a school bus. The truck crashed to miss the bus, but if the truck had been heavier and harder to maneuver, the outcome could have been tragically different.

“Allowing heavier weights would only increase the likelihood of a collision like that happening in the future,” Crawford said, adding that bigger loads increase stopping distances. “We have a lot of truck wrecks out there anyway. This will only make it more unsafe.”

A competing bill – Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation Act – aims to leave truck weights and sizes alone.

The Carolina personal injury attorneys at the Lee Law Offices, P.A. represent clients injured in truck accidents throughout North Carolina. Call today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 1-800-887-1965.

More Blog Entries:

Compliance with Safety Regulations an Issue for Experienced Attorneys Handling North Carolina Trucking Accidents, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, May 14, 2011

Victims and Survivors of Truck Accidents in North Carolina and Elsewhere Look to Revise Trucking Regulations, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, May 27, 2011

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