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Weight Limit Safety Concerns on Trucks

Philadelphia Truck Accident Lawyers Report: As Trucks Get Heavier, Safety Concerns Go Up Too

With the cost of diesel fuel at an all-time high, trucking companies in Pennsylvania are looking for ways to cut costs. One method is to load each truck to the maximum weight limit allowed. On most interstate highways that’s 80,000 pounds.

Recently, however, some states have relaxed their weight limits. At least 20 states now allow 100,000-pound trucks on interstate highways under an experimental program that will run for 20 years. Twenty-eight states allow heavier trucks on interstate highways by permit and 44 states allow heavier trucks on secondary roads.

Higher weight limits are viewed by many in the transportation industry as preferable to longer rigs such as triple trailers. But there’s a catch – interstate highway bridges in most states were designed to handle 80,000 pounds. Many bridges already need repairs. Beefing up highway bridges so they can handle heavier trucks is cost-prohibitive in states whose budget dollars already are stretched thin.

Pennsylvania spends about $1.5 billion per year to improve and maintain its bridges and roads. An estimated 5,000 bridges remain structurally deficient, according to a recent study by the state Senate Transportation Committee. And a state advisory panel calculated that Pennsylvania will have to spend $3.5 billion each year to catch up on road and bridge repairs and upgrades.

Safety concerns about heavier trucks extend beyond bridges. Heavier trucks are harder to handle and take longer to stop, which could lead to more – and more destructive – trucking accidents. Truckers counter that concern by pointing out that if each truck could carry a heavier load there would be fewer trucks on the road. And higher weight limits would get the heaviest trucks off two-lane highways and onto the interstates, where they would pose fewer safety risks.

Trucking industry officials and Congress are looking for creative ways to get heavier loads down the highway. U.S. Rep. Michael Michaud of Maine has proposed the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act, which would require trucks loaded to 100,000 pounds to have a sixth axle. That extra axel would reduce road wear and improve braking, he said. But a competing bill, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Jim McGovern of Massachusetts, would freeze the 80,000 pound limit on federal highways.

Philadelphia Truck Accident Lawyers at McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC Advocate for Injured Victims

If you or a loved one has been injured in any type of truck accident, you should consult with an experienced personal injury attorney to ensure your rights are fully protected.  At McCann Dillon Jaffe & Lamb, LLC, we have over five decades of combined experience pursuing justice and compensation for injured victims. To schedule your initial free consultation with one of our Philadelphia truck accident lawyers, call us at 215-569-8488 or 302-888-1221, or contact us online.