The Coalition for Transportation Productivity (CTP), a group of 200 of the nation’s leading manufacturers, shippers, carriers and allied associations, today applauded the Safe, Flexible and Efficient Trucking Act (Safe Trucking Act)—federal legislation introduced today by Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wis.). The Safe Trucking Act gives states the flexibility to safely confront highway capacity issues by utilizing more productive, six-axle trucks on Interstate highways within their borders.
“Truck travel has grown 22 times faster than road capacity since the federal weight limit was last changed in 1982,” said John Runyan, executive director of CTP. “Recognizing that more than 70 percent of freight must be shipped by truck, we need to confront the highway capacity crunch now if our country is to remain competitive. The Safe Trucking Act safely improves the productivity of truck shipments so we can decrease the truckloads necessary to meet demand and make our entire transportation network more efficient.”
Runyan continued, “With its additional axle, the Safe Trucking Act configuration has consistently been proven to safely ship more goods while braking faster, polluting less, reducing pavement wear and being safe for Interstate bridges. Our major trading partners are already safely utilizing these trucks to increase efficiency and reduce truckloads. Now it’s up to Congress to give states the flexibility to put them to work.”
The U.S. DOT’s Truck Size and Weight Study recently concluded that six-axle trucks can safely weigh up 91,000 pounds—the configuration allowable under the Safe Trucking Act—while yielding significant truckload reductions, pavement wear savings and environmental efficiency benefits. The U.S. DOT has also stated that the configuration is federal bridge formula compliant, meaning that it meets weight distribution requirements for vehicles traveling on bridges on the Interstate Highway System, and that wide use of the Safe Trucking Act configuration would not cause any increase in one-time rehabilitation costs for Interstate bridges. In addition, the Safe Trucking Act also enables the U.S. DOT to require additional safety equipment for these vehicles before they are implemented.
Runyan added, “It’s also important to recognize that more than 90 percent of states allow trucks which are heavier than the federal weight limit to travel on state roads, often on just five axles. The Safe Trucking Act gives these states a critical opportunity to promote the use of safer, six-axle vehicles while transitioning heavier traffic to more capable Interstate highways for at least a portion of their route. Paired with the U.S. DOT’s ability to require even more safety technology, the Safe Trucking Act is an opportunity for our nation to create a world-class standard vehicle for the movement of heavy goods.”