Proposed legislation that would extend the length of tractor-trailers nationwide could be considered today at a House committee meeting.
The proposal would mandate that states allow twin tractor-trailers of up to 33 feet per trailer to be hauled together, rather than the current federal standard of 28 feet.
“The proposed legislation would drastically increase the burden shouldered by truck drivers to safely operate their tractor-trailers, leaving the motoring public as a whole to bear this increased risk,” said Langdon & Emison attorney David Brose.
Longer trucks are more difficult for drivers to stop and research shows that double-trailer combinations have 15 percent higher crash rates than single trailers, according to a recent article by Bloomberg.
Under the proposal, 39 states that now cap the double-trailer length at 28 feet per trailer would have to allow double trainers up to 91 feet on their highways.
“Under the current system, a tractor-trailer can measure in length to approximately 80 feet,” Brose added. “In seeking to add 10 feet to the length of a tractor-trailer, truck drivers will have even less room for error, making driver maneuvers more hazardous to all vehicles around them.”
Commercial truck crashes resulted in nearly 4,000 deaths in 2012. Deaths from trucking accidents have increased every year for the past four years.
A cohort of bipartisan lawmakers, truck safety advocates and Teamsters representatives gathered Wednesday on Capitol Hill to oppose the proposal, saying the move jeopardizes highway safety.
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