The Teamsters Union voiced its opposition last week (Wednesday, Oct. 21), to increasing the allowed length of tractor-trailers, saying simply that bigger trucks would make U.S. highways less safe.
Specifically, the Teamsters oppose upping the maximum twin-trailer length to 33-feet from the current 28-foot maximum. Appropriations bills in both the House and the Senate have included language to extend the length of double trailers.
“Allowing trucks to pull 33-foot trailers would add an additional 10 feet to the length of existing double trailers, making it harder to pass these trucks and harder for truck drivers to see who’s beside them,” the Teamsters said in a press release. “Longer trucks also need greater stopping distances, and already over-capacity thoroughfares leave little room for driver reaction times when it comes to changing lanes and reduced speeds.”
In June, the DOT released the results of the congressionally mandated Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Limits Study, concluding it does not have enough data about truck size and weight to be able to make recommendations to Congress or regulators about changing the current truck size and weight laws.
Several Congressional measures this year, however, have continued the debate about truck size and weight. In addition to the 33-foot provisions in federal appropriations bills, other standalone legislation would allow states to increase their weight limit to 91,000 pounds, up from the current 80,000-pound limit.
The Teamsters in its press conference on Capitol Hill became the latest group to announce opposition to such measures, joining the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association and so-called safety advocacy groups in doing so.
The American Trucking Associations generally supports measures to increase size and weight limits.