Public Safety Advocates Gather on Capitol Hill to Oppose Increase to Federal Truck Size and Weight Limits

A large contingent of safety advocates gathered with U.S. Representative Jim McGovern (D-MA) today on Capitol Hill to oppose any increase to the federal weight and size limits for commercial trucks. The coalition of truck drivers, public health and safety groups, law enforcement officials and families of truck crash victims gathered as Congress debates a multi-billion dollar surface transportation reauthorization bill. 

Concerns about a potential change to truck size and weight limits have been heightened recently because the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) is conducting a study on the issue of truck sizes that many feel is flawed and biased. The National Academy of Science's Transportation Research Board review panel on the ongoing DOT study indicated that the study is using flawed methodology and is being conducted in too short of a time frame to yield accurate results. 

Congressman McGovern stated:  “I have serious concerns about the study….  If DOT does not include the most common configurations of big trucks in their analysis, then the validity of the study will be called into question.”

Joan Claybrook, Chair of Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways (CRASH) also voiced her concerns: "The on-going problems plaguing the U.S. DOT Truck Size and Weight Study need immediate attention and corrective action by the Obama AdministrationIf not, this study will become the lottery prize for corporate trucking interests pushing for bigger, heavier and more deadly trucks on our highways. Serious mistakes and chronic missteps by DOT, as we have already seen, will produce a shoddy, inaccurate study that puts corporate profits ahead of public safety."

Below are some truck safety facts provided by the Truck Safety Coalition:
  • The U.S. has seen increases in the number of fatalities and injuries caused by large truck crashes over the last three years. 
  • Fatalities in large truck crashes have increased by 16 percent since 2009.
  • Injuries in large truck crashes have increased by a staggering 40 percent since 2009. 
  • Three quarters of Americans oppose bigger and heavier trucks on our highways. 
  • Eight out of ten Americans support the view that trucks pulling double or triple trailers are more dangerous than those pulling just a single trailer. 

Jennifer Tierney, who lost her father in a fatal truck crash in 1983, urged Transportation Secretary Foxx on Wednesday to "immediately correct the deficiencies in the U.S. DOT truck size and weight study. The results of the U.S. DOT study will influence transportation policy for decades to come, and we cannot base life-altering decisions on poor methodology and questionable results."