Truck Safety Coalition
DOT Recommends NO Changes to Truck Size and Weight;
Calls Needed Now As Senate Considers Transportation Funding Bill
June 9, 2015
The U. S. Department of Transportation (DOT) released the Technical Reports of the Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Limits Study (Study) recommending no changes to current truck size and weights. In particular, a DOT official said, “At this time, the Department believes that the current data limitations are so profound that the results cannot accurately be extrapolated to predict national impacts. As such, the Department believes that no changes in the relevant truck size and weight laws and regulations should be considered until these data limitations are overcome.”
While DOT’s recommendation for no changes to truck size or weight is great news, there is still work to be done. The U.S. House of Representatives passed the Fiscal Year 2016 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) funding bill on June 9. It contains several anti-truck safety provisions including: provisions to increase double trailers to 33-feet; allow for state size and weight exemptions; maintain the increase in hours allowed to over 80 per week; and maintain minimum insurance at unacceptably low levels by removing funding for rulemaking.
The U.S. Senate is expected to begin consideration of their own version of the THUD funding bill in the coming weeks. We must do all that we can to prevent these measures from being included in the Senate version.
TAKE ACTION NOW:
We need you to call and email both of your Senators now and urge them to oppose attacks on truck safety in the THUD bill.
You can find your Senator by going to www.senate.gov and searching by state.
Or call the Capitol switchboard at 202-224-3121 and ask to be connected to a Senator’s office.
Special Interest Riders in the FY2016 THUD Bill Include:
FedEx Double 33′ tractor trailers on federal and local roads.
Longer double-trailer trucks will make passing even more dangerous than it already is. A double-trailer truck using 33-foot trailers would be at least 84 feet long, the height of an 8-story office building, and a triple-trailer truck would be at least 120 feet long, equivalent to a 12-story building. These longer trucks would dwarf the size of an average car and are the equivalent of 5 to 8 passenger cars in length.
Special interest weight and length exemptions for specific states.
By overwhelming margins in numerous public opinion polls over the last 20 years, the American public consistently and convincingly rejects sharing the road with bigger, heavier and longer trucks.
Special interest truck size and weight exemptions are essentially “earmarks” for states and “unfunded mandates” imposed on all American taxpayers who bear the cost of federally-financed infrastructure damage and repairs.
Extension and expansion of the “Collins Amendment” tucked into the FY 2015 overall federal spending bill last December that dramatically increases the working and driving hours of truck drivers up to 82 hours a week and takes away their “weekend” off, resulting in more tired truckers and jeopardizing safety.
With this provision, the HOS rule reverts to the Bush Administration rule in effect when a 2006 survey of truck drivers found an alarming 65% of truck drivers reported they had often or sometimes felt drowsy while driving and nearly half admitted to falling asleep while driving in the previous year.
A prohibition on rulemaking going on right now at the U.S. Department of Transportation to determine whether or not motor carriers have sufficient insurance coverage, which has not been reviewed and revised since 1980.
Congress gave the DOT Secretary and FMCSA the authority to review the insurance level. The rule making process, which includes public comments, should be respected and followed.
Minimum levels of insurance for trucks, currently set at $750,000, have not been increased in over 35 years and are woefully insufficient.
The underinsured segments of the industry are effectively subsidized by American taxpayers through unreimbursed social welfare programs including Medicaid and Social Security.
Stop the Assault on Truck Safety – Oppose Any Dangerous Anti-Truck Safety Measures
Please feel free to contact us if you have any questions at 703-294-6404
Truck Safety Coalition