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Madison County Sheriff David Woolfork to Tell Congress "No Bigger Trucks"

By Jeaneane Payne

Madison County Sheriff David Woolfork is in Washington, D.C. this week to carry a simple message to Congress: Tennessee motorists should not be forced to share the road with bigger, more dangerous trucks.

Woolfork plans to meet with Representatives John J. Duncan, Jr. and Steve Cohen in Washington, as well as other members of the state's Congressional delegation.


Terrifying "crack the whip" effect when trip trailer trucks make evasive maneuvers

Votes on legislation to allow bigger or heavier trucks are likely after the Memorial Day holiday. One proposal would raise maximum truck weights by 8.5 tons to 97,000 pounds for typical tractor-trailers. Others are proposing to lift the restrictions that now ban huge triple trailer trucks from most US highways.

The Coalition Against Bigger Trucks (CABT) says "Bigger trucks threaten the safety of motorist and families on our roads, destroy our infrastructure, and force taxpayers to pick up the tab."

Todd Spencer, Executive Vice President of Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) states, "We already have a serious lack of training for truckers and virtually no minimum standards for a person to get a commercial drivers license. It's a hard enough job to maneuver 80,000 pounds and no one knows better than the men and women who drive trucks for a living that heavier trucks can reduce safety margins for themselves and other motorists. Most want no part of increasing the weight limit, either as drivers or even as motorists sharing the road."

According to a national survey conducted recently by Hart Research Associates on behalf of CABT, American voters say they are overwhelmingly opposed to allowing bigger, heavier trucks on our nation's highways.

Statistics from the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) show that large trucks have a fatal crash rate nearly 40 percent higher than cars and that bigger trucks are more likely to roll over.

"There remain significant unanswered questions regarding the balance between productivity, safety and impacts on infrastructure," stated Chris Plaushin, AAA director of federal relations. "Until research can fully address these issues, AAA remains opposed to any federal increases in the current truck size and weight limits."

The U.S. DOT estimates that taxpayers already subsidize nearly $2 billion annually for large truck damage, and bigger trucks would make that worse. The most common truck on the road — an 80,000 pound five-axle single — pays just 80 percent of the maintenance costs it inflicts on roads, while a 97,000-pound six-axle single truck would pay for only half of its damage.


Published May 24, 2011

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