In early September 2015, United States Representative Reid Ribble introduced the Safe, Flexible, and Efficient (SAFE) Trucking Act to Congress and the controversy hasn’t died down since. The bill proposes a system in which individual states could allow commercial trucks to carry a maximum of 91,000 pounds of freight, up from the current maximum of 80,000 pounds. To compensate for the added load, trucks would also need a sixth axle, up from five. Why is a ~14% increase in cargo such a big deal? And why is it causing split decisions across the country?
For Those in Favor of the Bill
The SAFE Trucking Act proposes that allowing commercial trucks to bring more freight with them on a trip would ultimately reduce the number of trucks necessary to complete routes. This would mean, in theory, that there would be less large vehicles clogging up our highways, and potentially less accidents. Additionally, proponents of the bill believe that there would be significantly less wear and tear to roadways from that reduced amount of traffic, saving the average taxpayer money in the end.
They also note that the proposed changes are in line with existing United States Department of Transportation (DOT) regulations. Furthermore, Canadian and European trucking companies allow freight weighing more than 100,000 pounds to be hauled, and there is no indication of increased danger due to it.
For Those Against the Bill
For every voice supporting the SAFE Trucking Act, there seems to be at least one other who claims it isn’t safe at all. Trucks are notoriously difficult to control and require a massive distance between them and another vehicle to stop safely. Adding another 11,000 pounds to the vehicle would arguably make the vehicle that much more difficult to handle responsibly, and certainly would increase the necessary stopping distance. The end result would be devastating collisions of a previously unseen scale.
Opponents of the act believe that while it could be true that there might be less trucks on the highways, each one that does exist will be ten times more dangerous than it was before. To them, it is just not worth the risk of endangering more lives to try to save a profit for trucking companies. That is another issue being cited: that this bill is only a tool being used by lobbyists.
If you would like to know more about this controversial bill and how it might endanger American motorists – or if you have already been hurt in a truck accident that was not your fault – get into contact with a Martin County truck accident attorney from Lauri J. Goldstein & Associates, PLLC right away. Our compassionate and reliable team is here to help you in your time of need. Call (772) 214-6464 now to discover your legal options.