According to preliminary numbers from the Maine Department of Public Safety, Maine roads saw a total of 130 fatalities on Maine roads in 2014, the fewest since 1944. There were 10 commercial vehicle-related fatalities in 2014, significantly fewer than the 23 in 2009.
CTP attributes the reduction to targeted truck weight that allows heavier trucks to utilize the interstate highway, as opposed to just state highways.
The Safe and Efficient Transportation Act (SETA), introduced by Reps. Reid Ribble (R-WI) and Michael Michaud (D-ME) as H.R. 612, allows states to increase interstate weight limits from 80,000 pounds to 97,000 pounds. The higher weight limit only applies to trucks equipped six axles in order to maintain safety specifications
James Tanner, fatal accident system analyst for the Maine Bureau of Highway Safety, said congressional action allowing heavier, six-axle trucks full access to the interstate highways in Maine may have “helped to make roads safer.”
“The experience in Maine proves that targeted, sensible truck weight reform will not only make highways more efficient, but it will save lives,” said John Runyan, executive director of CTP. “It’s a fact that many interstate highways are safer and better engineered for heavy traffic, and that allowing properly equipped heavier trucks to access the interstate will provide a more efficient route while helping to avoid traffic lights, crosswalks, school crossings and other potential hazards.
“Modernizing truck weights saved lives in Maine, and if Congress allows all states to enact higher interstate truck weight limits, we will undoubtedly experience safety improvements nationwide,” Runyan continued. “More than 40 states allow heavier trucks on state roads, and under the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act, currently pending in Congress, they would be given the option to transition heavier trucks equipped with safe six-axles to the interstate. Targeted truck weight reform outlined in the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act made sense in Maine, and it makes sense for many other states.”
CTP is a group of 200 shippers and allied associations dedicated to addressing the safety, economic and environmental challenges of the U.S. freight transportation network through truck weight reform.