In 2010, trucking advocates got their wish and overweight trucks were allowed to travel on interstate highways in Main and Vermont. Due to lobbying efforts, making this program permanent was included in the first draft of the omnibus spending bill, but was the provision was removed from after traffic safety advocates pointed out that the increased risk of deadly overweight truck accidents was probably not worth the benefit to a relatively small segment of the population–i.e. trucking companies. Now, though, senators from the two states are making a call to extend the program permanently, something trucking advocates see as a first step to getting the program extended nationwide.
Federal regulations currently limit the gross weight of most trucks on interstate highways to 80,000 pounds. After that, trucks need an overweight truck permit, which often includes filing a route plan and other documents that show due care will be taken to avoid accidents. Under the trial program, trucks in Maine and Vermont were allowed to travel on highways without an overweight permit if their gross weight was 100,000 pounds or less. Without approval, the program expired in December.
There are many reasons to oppose extending this program. With our national infrastructure already strained and many bridges at risk of failure, the additional strain of overweight trucks seems like something to avoid. And of course these trucks are even more deadly because of their increased weight. Semi trucks are already much more likely to be involved in a fatal accident. Trucks are involved in 2 fatal accidents for every 100 million miles traveled, compared to only 1.6 for passenger vehicles. Also, traffic barriers are already insufficient to stop semi trucks from crossing over into oncoming traffic. Just today, an accident involved a semi truck that struck the divider, sending debris into opposing traffic, not to mention the deadly 2010 accident where a semi crossed through the traffic barrier and killed 10 Mennonites in opposing traffic lanes.
To keep heavier, deadlier trucks off our highways, make sure you contact your legislators. We can also fight overweight trucks by making them unprofitable due to the damage they cause. If you have lost a loved one in an accident with an overweight truck, your lawsuit can penalize trucking companies that seek to profit from this dangerous practice.
To learn more about a truck accident lawsuit, please schedule a free consultation with the Columbus, Ohio attorneys of Robert W. Kerpsack, CO, LPA today.