A debate is raging about big trucks. Specifically, will longer large trucks improve efficiency and reduce the number of trucks on the road, or will they cause greater wear-and-tear on the road and be so difficult to drive they cause more serious crashes?
At issue is the proposed twin 33-foot trailer. It’s been a highly divisive issue in the trucking industry for years, though mostly for economic reasons. Smaller carriers say if the government opens the door to these larger vehicles, they will have no choice but to update their fleet if they want to stay competitive. Most of these smaller companies say it would be impossible to do so in a manner that would be expedient and cost effective. Larger companies, meanwhile, argue that fewer trucks on the road means heightened safety on several fronts. Drivers could carry more in one haul, so they would be less pressed traveling to-and-from destinations. The need for fewer trips would mean lesser need for more trucks, which would mean fewer trucks on the road. That helps cut down on the wear-and-tear of our aging transportation infrastructure. They argue a shift to these larger trucks would help save $2.6 billion in transportation costs. One finding released by Americans for Modern Transportation indicated national adoption of twin 33 truckers would reduce truck miles driven by 3.1 billion, resulting in 4,500 fewer truck accidents annually.
Last year, a transportation funding bill would have permitted twin 33-ft. trailers on interstate highways passed the House, but the Senate ultimately backed away from that allowance. Now, trucking companies have promised they will fight for it again this year. Continue reading