July 27–ASHLAND — A U.S. Senate committee is considering legislation to increase size and weight limits for tractor-trailers, but the director of Boyd County Emergency Medical Services is strongly opposed.
Tom Adams, who also is president of the Kentucky Ambulance Providers Association, said longer and heavier trucks pose too much of a risk.
“We are calling on Kentucky’s federal delegation to vote against any increases in truck size or weight,” Adams said in a news release. “They would make passing, merging and turning at intersections more difficult, creating devastating consequences.”
FedEx and UPS are among trucking companies lobbying Congress to require every state to allow longer double-trailer trucks, called “Double 33s,” which are 17 feet longer than standard single-trailer trucks.
Large shippers in Washington have proposed to increase weights from 80,000 to 91,000 pounds.
The U.S. Department of Transportation released a report to Congress that recommended no changes be made to current truck size and weight laws.
“Emergency responders arrive immediately after accidents and try to save lives, a challenge that will only become harder if Congress approves this legislation,” Adams said.
He said longer and heavier trucks appeal only to those who will make more money if they’re approved.
USDOT found in limited testing that heavier trucks have higher accident rates — 47 percent higher for 91,000-pounders than standard 80Ks and 99 to 400 percent higher for 97,000-pounders.
Adams also voiced concern about road and bridge conditions.
“Our roads and bridges are already damaged enough and these proposals allowing for larger trucks would only cause more damage to our infrastructure,” Adams said.
USDOT reported 91,000-pound trucks would cause another $1.1 billion in bridge costs and 97,000-pound trucks would bring $2.2 billion more.
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