The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety says allowing more weight on vehicles will increase the potential for more accidents.
Earlier this month, Delegate Scott Garrett of Lynchburg (R-23rd) proposed legislation asking the Virginia Department of Transportation to form a work group to study the impacts heavier trucks would have on Virginia roads.
The study would primarily focus on safety, efficiency and infrastructure impacts.
Allowing the study would permit Virginia to be eligible to partake in future federal pilot programs. At the moment, there are no such pilot programs, but supporters believe if the study passes, it may be just what they need to get the ball rolling.
The weight limit is currently 80,000 pounds but the study would look at an increase to 91,000 pounds.
Matthew Brumbelow is a senior research engineer for IIHS. He believes the biggest issue will be rear-end collisions because the added weight would slow down stopping times.
“Trucks now take longer to stop,” he said. “Either the driver of the truck doesn’t realize that with the heavier weight or they’re just caught by surprise on an issue that arises in front of them. The risk of that kind of crash happening could very well increase.”