Truck Traffic from Mexico – Standards are Different on the other site of the Boarder
On the same day a tanker truck explosion in Mexico City killed at least 22 people and injured 36 others, families of U.S. truck crash victims spoke out to urge Congress to support legislation that would address truck weight and size limits.
While our Atlanta truck accident lawyers have yet to learn the cause of the massive tragedy in Mexico, we do know that the natural gas tanker exploded after the driver lost control of the vehicle and crashed on the highway, which was lined with dozens of homes. Authorities there say the death toll could rise, as several of the victims remain in critical condition.
We also know that the heavier one of these large trucks is, the more difficult it can be to control and the more prone it may be to crashes.
Mexico doesn’t currently have the same kinds of weight and size regulations that the U.S. has implemented, but we need to ensure those regulations are protected from special interest groups who may work to pressure the Federal Motor Safety Carrier Administration. This proposed legislation is one way of doing it.
The Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation Act was re-introduced by U.S. Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-NJ) after two previous failed attempts, the latest in 2011.
The measure would apply the current tractor-trailer truck weight limit of 80,000 pounds and a size limit of 53 feet to the entire national highway system, which would include both interstates as well as smaller highways. Certain exemptions, such as those for firefighting equipment, would be maintained under the bill.
As it now stands, those standard size and weight restrictions are already applicable to the 44,000-mile interstate system. This bill would extend most of those same restrictions to the larger 220,000-mile national highway system.
Additionally, this measure would expand the current halt of triple tractor trailer runs on interstates to the broader national system. It would also seal any loopholes that allow overweight trucks to remain in operation. Additionally, an enforcement program would be established to ensure that violators would have a clear chain of accountability.
Trucks that are heavier and bigger have a disproportionately high share of motor vehicle deaths, when we’re looking at the statistics on a per-miles-traveled basis. These vehicles are known to be at increased risk for rollover, swaying and they also require longer distances to make a safe stop.
Lautenberg was quoted as saying that not only do these massive vehicles pose an immediate risk to motorists, they also take a toll on the integrity of our bridges and highways.
This measure is co-sponsored by other Democrats in New Jersey, California and Missouri. A companion bill in the House is also being sponsored by a Democrat from Massachusetts.
The Truck Safety Coalition reports that a new poll found overwhelming public support for truck weight limitations, with nearly 70 percent opposing heavier trucks and nearly 90 percent expressing a strong opposition to paying higher taxes for the infrastructure damage caused by heavier trucks. M