Right now, there is a bill floating through Congress that will allow big rigs on the nation’s roadways to weigh 97,000 pounds, fully loaded. That’s almost 100,000 pounds driving next to your car, your family’s minivan, your mother’s sedan. Think about that.
It’s just been recently that Illinois felt comfortable enough with raising truck weights up to 80,000 from 73,280 pounds. Remember, the average sedan still weighs around 3500 lbs. — there’s no legislation about increasing weights of cars or SUVs out there.
It’s not news to anyone that commercial truck accidents involving other vehicles – cars, vans, SUVs, motorcycles – usually mean that people die in them. There are many contributing factors, but just the big difference in WEIGHT is a major reason for big rig crashes being so deadly.
This bill was stalled in the House of Representatives last year (March 2009), but H.R. 1799 has been given new life and its proponents are purportedly attaching it to another bill, which should allow H.R. 1799 to pass the House. Meanwhile, over in the U.S. Senate, Idaho Senator Mike Crapo is ready to take the ball and run this legislation through the Senate, and he was reported to be expecting to start his drive right after the Easter holiday.
To watch the Congressional efforts to allow semi trucks weigh to top out at 90,000 pounds, just monitor the webpage that tracks the legislation.
This may mean that trucking companies can save money by throwing more cargo onto existing trucks (and not buy new ones), but this isn’t good news for those of us who are driving the roadways next to these monsters. Not good news at all.