Safety questions fly as highway trucks get heavier

On November 23, 2011, the Associated Press published an article regarding weight limits imposed on freight trucks driven on federal highways. Recently, advocates for higher weight limits presented a bill, the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act, which would allow the weight limit for freight trucks to increase from 80,000 pounds to 97,000 pounds on federal highways. Critics of higher weight limits also introduced their own bill, the Safe Highway and Infrastructure Preservation Act, which would freeze the current weight limit for heavy trucks at 80,000 pounds on federal highways.

Critics of these proposed measures argue that an increase in weight limits would introduce heavier trucks on the road and create a safety hazard, since these types of vehicles are harder to control. Furthermore, critics believe that the added weight from heavy trucks also has the potential of damaging highways and roads, a cost that will ultimately fall on the taxpayer. Advocates argue that an increase in weight limits would create safer highways by allowing fewer trucks to move the same amount of goods. Proponents also maintain that fewer trucks would reduce pollution and decrease business costs.

The trucking industry is the main proponent of higher weight limits for freight trucks on highways. The railroad industry and representatives from safety groups comprise the critics of these proposed measures.

See the full Associated Press article at:

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