Bill before Congress could halt coal truck weight increase
in West Virginia.
Senator Rockefeller and urge him to support
bill 1140, the “Safe Highways and Infrastructure
Extend the 80,000-pound truck weight limit
on interstates to the entire 156,000-mile National Highway
Cap the length of truck trailers to 53 feet.
Extend the current freeze of longer
combination vehicles (LCV’s) – long double and triple
trailer trucks – to the entire National Highway System (NHS).
Freeze grandfather claims and close
loopholes that allow trucks to operate at weights
exceeding federal limits.
Provided guidelines to strengthen weight
enforcement, by requiring the Federal Highway
Administration (FHWA) to develop a model fine schedule
designed to recover, as fully as possible, all costs of
overweight operations and to act as an effective
Specific sections of highway where
higher limits are already permitted would be exempt from
the weight limit freeze in S.1140, however this exemption
applies only to existing weight exemptions that were in
legal operation as of June 1, 2003.
This could keep West Virginia from legally allowing
heavier coal trucks on our roads.
The West Virginia legislature passed SB 583 during
the 2003 regular session, establishing a coal resource
transportation system to allow trucks hauling coal to
carry up to 126,000 pounds.
SB 583 is to go into effect on July 1, 2003.
Rockefeller serves on the Senate Commerce Committee, which
will be considering this legislation on Thursday, June 19.
and fax (or e-mail) a letter to Senator Rockefeller today
and ask him to oppose increased coal truck weights.
Address your letter to:
The Honorable John D. Rockefeller
letter to (202) 224-7665 or e-mail email@example.com
Problem with Heavier Trucks
Heavier trucks pose unacceptable safety risks.
trucks will have braking problems. In trucks whose
brakes are not properly adjusted, stopping distances
increase with truck weight. Heavier trucks are more
likely to suffer brake failure and runaway crashes. Roadside
inspections have found that 25% or more of trucks on
the road today have brakes that are dangerously out of
going uphill, heavy trucks are dangerous.
Because they are forced to slow down, the
extreme speed differential between them and passenger
cars increases the likelihood of collisions.
trucks will tend to have a higher center of gravity
because the extra weight is typically stacked
the center of gravity increases the risk of rollovers.
to the University of Michigan Transportation Research
Institute (UMTRI), there is a strong statistical link
between higher weights and a greater risk of fatalities.
As weights up from 65,000 to 80,000 pounds, the risk of an
accident involving a fatality goes up 50%
(US DOT Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Study, Phase
I, Working Paper 1 &2, 1997, p. 37).
Heavier trucks tear up our roads and bridges and
taxpayers foot the bill
truck weights threatens our bridges, many of which are
already in bad shape and in need of repair. Nearly 25% of
our bridges in West Virginia are structurally deficient or
structurally obsolete (US
DOT National Bridge Inventory, 2000 data).
2002 study on coal transport released by the West Virginia
Department of Transportation (WVDOT) estimated it would
cost a minimum of $2.8 billion dollars to upgrade and
repair 2,684 miles of coal haul roads to minimum federal
bigger trucks will worsen an already severe problem with
deteriorating crowded highways.
According to the US Department of
Transportation’s (USDOT) “2002 Status Report of the
Nation’s Surface Transportation System,” $1.518
trillion will be required over the next twenty years just
to maintain the existing condition of our roads and
in trucks size and weight policy could have a major impact
on pavement quality and performance, accelerating damage
to our roads and bridges and driving those costs even
USDOT “Highway Cost Allocation Study” found that
bigger trucks do not pay their fair share of highway
maintenance costs. A
90,000-pound six-axle tractor trailer truck covers only
60% of its costs, while a 100,000-pound six-axle tractor
trailer truck pays 40%.
additional information go to http://www.cabt.org/ or