For that reason, a recent idea advocated by a trucking industry executive should be soundly rejected by Congress and federal interstate trucking regulators. Speaking at a recent conference of the National Shippers Strategic Transportation Council (NASSTRAC), CEO David Congdon of Old Dominion Freight Lines advocated for higher vehicle-length and gross-vehicle-weight allowances for commercial vehicles.
Congdon argues that the current limits would increase productivity and profits for trucking companies at a time when proposed hours-of-service (HOS) regulations will reduce legal driving time for truckers by one hour. He suggests an increase from 80,000 to 97,000 pounds for trucks using interstate highways, as well as expanded use of triple trailers, which are currently only allowed in some western states.
While his arguments about fuel efficiency and other economic factors may be hard to refute, there is no way that an increase in excess of 20 percent in a truck’s mass is good for highway safety. If faulty brakes, a distracted driver or poorly loaded cargo present fatal risks when a 40-ton projectile is involved, imagine the catastrophic damage when a nearly 50-ton semi rig plows into a line of vehicles backed up due to fog, gridlock or other circumstances.
Any trucking accident lawyer can explain how changes to the HOS rules, as well as requirements of electronic on-board recording (EOBR) devices to ensure compliance, will contribute to a reduction in truck accident rates. But truck driver mistakes, trucking company negligence and defective equipment will still cause serious injuries and wrongful death. Dedicated advocacy from a personal injury attorney is the only way that many victims and surviving family members can obtain justice.