In December 2009, Congress approved a one-year truck pilot program allowing 6-axle trucks a 100,000 lb gvw in Maine and Vermont.
The program, started in 2010, was believed to decrease the number of trucks on the road since increasing the weight limit would provide greater capacity, adding 20,000 additional pounds of freight onto the typical 80,000 lb restraint. Increasing the weight limit of trucks would also decrease the traffic on secondary roads, which are what heavy trucks are forced to travel on, being banned from Interstates.
But the results of the truck pilot program are not what members of the trucking industry had in mind, demonstrating a rise in trucks on the road and a significant increase in fatalities since it took affect.
The Truck Safety Coalition (TSC) released information which clearly demonstrated a rise in trucks on the road since the program took affect. According to the report, “The Vermont DMV tracked the change in permits for 99,000 lb. 6-axle trucks, which increased from 1,500 in 2009 to over 3,000 in 2010 during the pilot” (http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/trucking-industry-wrong-on-maine-and-vermont-100000-pound-truck-pilot-program—dead-wrong-131779463.html).
Not only that, but Vermont experienced a commercial motor vehicle fatality rate that was three times that recorded in 2009, increasing from 0.49 fatal crashes per 100 million miles to 1.44, PR Newswire explains in their article.
The Federal Highway Administration and the Maine Department of Transportation released similar results, showing a 43% increase in fatalities involving 6-axle trucks in Maine, the article notes.
As the site acknowledges, advocates are striving to stop heavy-weight truck exemptions from continuing by passing the Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation (SHIPA) Act, while Congress is considering permanently allowing overweight trucks to operate.
While groups continue to fight the operation of overweight trucks on the road, believing that they will have more dangerous and fatal consequences than good, Road Scholar Transport is on the road applying the latest safety technology on its 48’ and 53’ van and reefers, including the Bendix Wingman ACB system, which will cause our truck to maintain a set distance of 8/10ths of a mile marker behind a forward vehicle, preventing accidents. Visit www.roadscholar.com to learn more about Road Scholar’s safety and security features.
Do you think that Congress should permanently allow overweight trucks to operate on the road? List your comments below.