The American Trucking Associations (ATA) strongly supports the “Safe and Efficient Transportation ACT (SETA) of 2010, S. 3705, introduced Aug. 4 by U.S. Senators Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Herb Kohl (D-Wisc.).
The legislation will allow the operation of trucks on the Interstate Highway System with a gross weight of 97,000 pounds. Current law limits the weight of 5-axle trucks traveling on the Interstate System to 80,000 pounds.
There is another bill that will actually put a freeze on the weight that is allowed to be hauled. HR1618 will keep the 80,000 pound weight limit as the legal weight. This is the bill that needs to be supported if you are concerned about safety out on the highway.
80,000 pound trucks – with dry road conditions – takes 400 feet to safely stop traveling at 55 mph. That is longer than a football field and on dry roads. When the roads are wet these distances increase for safe stopping. If 17,000 more pounds are added to a vehicle that takes 400 feet to safely stop on dry roads the safe stopping distance has to increase because of the loads momentum.
The ATA says by just adding a sixth axle will increase the braking capability enough that a longer stopping distance will not be required and prevents pavements from sustaining more damage. I’d say the ATA needs to go to Michigan and see what heavier weights have done to the roads – and they’re mostly concrete – not blacktop roads. What has yet to be told is whether or not the sixth axle will be just a single wheel or the traditional double wheel setup. Also, most “added” axles are the air lift styles and single wheel applications and are regulated from inside the cab with controls to raise and lower them – and offer no real braking capabilities.
The ATA says that the results of heavier weights will result with less fuel used – and thus reduced emissions and carbon. In my best R. Lee Ermey voice – maybe in “mamby pamby” land. But in the real world where this matters – more weight equals more fuel used. The only way it would work – the way the so-called “experts” say – is if the trucks were re-geared and the engines reset to handle the heavier loads. As of right now the legislation only says in order to be able to haul 97,000 pounds the operator needs to add a sixth axle to “compensate” the heavier weight and obviously pay more money.
The ATA says:
Fewer miles traveled also means less pavement damage, lowering highway maintenance costs. Any additional bridge costs will be covered by a higher federal fee that the vehicles authorized to operate under this legislation will be required to pay, and which will be dedicated to bridge investments in those states that authorize use of the heavier trucks.
In 1990 there were 137,865 “structurally deficient” bridges in the US. As of a report released in July 2010 there are still 71,177 “structurally deficient” bridges in the US. In 20 years they have “fixed” 66,688 bridges at a rate of 3,334 fixed per year – seems we are looking at more than 20 more years before all the bridges would be “structurally efficient” enough to carry heavier weights.
Fewer miles traveled? Oh they must mean that if the heavier weights are allowed, then there will be less freight to haul – less trucks required. Yea, right we all know what these companies will do if this is allowed to go through – carriers will be adding trucks – and shippers will make more products to haul. And the drivers will make the very same pay – but take a greater risk of hauling the heavier loads.
In my other article titled “ATA – Anti Trucking Association” I told you that they support having the Mexican trucks travel here in the US. Never-mind that several have said that this would make our highways unsafe plus thousands of American drivers would lose jobs.
Brandon Borgna, spokesman for the Arlington, Va-based American Trucking Association, said that the group supports restarting the pilot program previously in effect.
“We do support the (pilot) program and we would like to see it implemented,” Borgna said.
Borgna said that the association believes that Mexican trucks and operators can safely operate within the US.
So here we have the ATA which claims to be “The Voice of the Industry that Moves America’s Freight.” But yet they are for two different things not supported by very many in the trucking industry. With the ATA supporting both heavier trucks and Mexican trucks in the US – I still say: “ATA – you are part of the problem – not part of the solution within the trucking industry.”
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