Tulsa World reports that two bills are currently being debated in Congress that relate to limits placed on truck size and weight, and would have a significant impact on motorist safety.
The Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation Act (SHIPA), seeks to maintain the current limits placed on truck weight and seize (up to 80,000 pounds and up to 53 feet) and enlarge the current ban on triple-trailers from the Interstate Highway System (IHS) to the 160,000 mile National Highway System (NHS). Most weight and size restrictions already apply to the 44,000 mile IHS, but the bill would get rid of ambiguities that permit overweight trucks and would also implement an enforcement program to guarantee compliance.
Its competition is the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act (SETA), which seeks to allow states to permit larger and heavier trucks up to 97,000 pounds on interstates within state borders. The higher weight limit would only apply to big rigs that have six axles instead of five.
Supporters of SETA claim the bill, if passed, will reduce pollution and fuel costs. In addition, officials from the American Trucking Association (ATA) say trucks will carry 30 percent more tonnage in 2021 than it currently does. If truck weight limits are not increased, it will require 18 percent more big rigs on the nation’s roads, driving 27 percent more miles than they currently do.
Opponents say the benefits of trucks carrying larger loads are outweighed by safety risks, in addition to huge expenses that will be needed to repair highway infrastructure. Many have also noted that while big rigs make up just three percent of all registered vehicles, they account for nine percent of all vehicles involved in fatal accidents and are responsible for 12 percent of all accident-related deaths.
At Cullan & Cullan, our Omaha big rig accident attorneys help victims injured in truck accidents in Nebraska obtain the compensation they need following an accident caused by a negligent truck driver. Call our law offices at 1-402-397-7600 to learn more about your legal rights.