Big Rigs Getting Even Bigger?

December 19, 2011

There are 15.5 million truck drivers in the United States, and over 2 million tractor-trailers. AAA reports that trucking accidents account for 40% more fatal accidents than passenger cars. The trucking industry is now asking Congress to permit them to increase the national weight limit on tractor-trailer trucks almost 20% from 80,000 to 97,000 pounds. If approved, it won't be uncommon to see triple-tractor-trailers on the roads.

Larger trucks may be more economical for moving goods across the United States, but the cost is too high. The risks are obvious--heavier trucks are harder to stop, and more likely to cause significant damages and injury when they can't stop in time. Not only will this mean more trucking accidents, but it will mean more serious and fatal truck accidents, even here in Maryland.

This is a slippery slope--if Congress approves this change, the trucking industry will be asking to increase the maximum levels yet again. It is important to tell them no. See this AAA video clip for examples of the injury dangers of large trucks.

Statistics:

  • 2006: 385,000 large truck collisions
  • 2006: 4,732 fatal truck accidents, killing 4,995 people (12% of all highway fatalities)
  • 2006: 106,000 people injured because of truck collisions