Special interests in Washington, D.C., have pushed for years for longer and heavier tractor-trailers. While trucks play an important role in our state’s economy, we as law enforcement leaders know that longer and heavier trucks would add new dangers to our highways as well as increase damage to our roads and bridges. The Illinois Sheriffs’ Association has consistently opposed bigger trucks, and we need your help to stop them from operating here in Illinois.
Several bills debated in Congress would have increased the size and weight of trucks. One bill would have increased the national truck weight limit from 80,000 pounds to 91,000 pounds and other legislation called for longer double-trailer trucks totaling 91 feet in length. Both bills were defeated on a bipartisan vote in 2015 in part because members of Congress heard from their constituents back home. Our voices are making a difference.
However, bigger-truck proponents are making another push for longer double-trailer trucks again this year. FedEx CEO Fred Smith testified at a hearing in February before the House Transportation and Infra-structure Committee and tried to make the case again for Double 33s.
These trucks would increase profit margins for his company at the expense of motorist safety and our roads and bridges. A U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) delivered to Congress last year recom-mends that Congress not approve heavier or longer trucks. According to USDOT, Double 33s take 252 feet to stop—that is 22 feet longer than double-trailer trucks on the road today. To make matters worse, USDOT also found that double-trailer trucks have 58 percent higher out-of-service violation rates than single-trailer trucks. This is a critical finding because an Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) study published in 2016 found that a truck with any out-of-service violation is 362 percent more likely to be involved in a crash.
The USDOT study also found problems with heavier trucks. Both 91,000-pound and 97,000-pound configurations were found in limited state testing to have 47 to 400 percent higher crash rates. These trucks were also found to have higher overall out-of-service violation rates and 18 percent higher brake violation rates than today’s 80,000-pound trucks.
Please join with the Illinois Sheriffs’ Association in continuing opposition to any increases in longer and heavier trucks on our roads. If you have questions or would like to get involved, please contact the Coalition Against Bigger Trucks (CABT) at email@example.com or (703) 535-3131. We have partnered with CABT for many years, and they are appreciative of the support from our association and our individual members in opposing increases in truck size and weight.
– Illinois Sheriffs’ Association, April 2017