Congress Debates Truck Size

May 16, 2018

A group of 50 safety advocates sent a letter to House Appropriations Subcommittee on Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development Chairman Mario Diaz-Balart (R-FL) and Ranking Member David Price (D-NC), urging them to reject any “riders” to an appropriation bill that would expand the length of tractor-hauled trailers from 28 to 33 feet.

In the letter, the group states, “Increasing the length of double tractor-trailers by five feet per trailer would result in a configuration that is approximately the size of an 8-story building. These massive trucks would not only be more difficult for other motorists to maneuver around and co-exist on the roadways with but would also be more difficult for truck drivers to operate.”

Separately, the Americans for Modern Transportation (AMT) — comprised of companies such as FedEx and Amazon — sent a letter to the same recipients advocating for the truck size increase.

AMT noted, “A new national standard for twin 33-foot trailers will add instant capacity while reducing congestion and making the most safe and efficient use of the roads and highways we travel today.” “Despite misleading assertions to the contrary, longer or heavier trucks will not reduce the number of trucks on our roads or the number of truck vehicles miles traveled or the number of truck crashes.”

Both letters come in advance of a scheduled markup of a nearly $72 billion transportation appropriations bill. The debate comes at a time when businesses, including ILMA members, are struggling with logistics issues.