Truck sizes and weight limits should not be increased as a result of the Department of Transportation’s weight-limit study, according to the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association.
Officials from the organization made their thoughts clear during the DOT’s first public information session Wednesday in Washington on its comprehensive truck size and weight limits study, an analysis required by the MAP-21 bill. Three additional input sessions are planned.
Attendees tackled alternative truck configurations, discussed the method and modeling for the program and how data will be used, and talked through an overview of the study.
In the study, analysts will compare the performance of overloaded trucks with those that have been loaded at or below current federal regulations. According to the DOT, the study “will produce findings on highway safety and truck crash frequency and severity, pavement and bridge infrastructure service life impacts, the cost and effectiveness of enforcement and implications for the national transportation system” if limits were to be relaxed or increased.
“The recent bridge collapse is a classic example of how the stability of our nation’s highways and bridges is already compromised,” OOIDA’s Todd Spencer said. “Adding more weight to the equation is the last thing we need when states are already struggling to come up with funding for maintenance.”
On May 23, a bridge on Interstate-5 north of Seattle collapsed when, apparently, a truck struck the overhead section of the bridge. If weight limits were to loosen up, the OOIDA foresees more problems down the road.
“Today’s session brought out complexities that have been overlooked or oversimplified,” Spencer said. “Proponents of loosening restrictions would have everyone looking past parking, stopping distance and lack of driver training. It’s no minor change to raise weight limits as they would like everyone to believe.”
Data and analysis presented during the meeting is available on the DOT Website
. - Jon Ross