New Proposal Could Increase Maximum Weight Of Tractor Trailers

WASHINGTON (WJZ)— There’s a push on Capitol Hill to keep big rigs from getting even bigger. A new proposal could increase the maximum weight of tractor trailers.       

Jessica Kartalija explains why some say this could wreak havoc on Maryland roads.

AAA Mid-Atlantic is fighting the proposal in Washington, saying bigger trucks will lead to more fatalities and could destroy Maryland roads and bridges.

A video released by the Coalition Against Bigger Trucks shows triple tractor trailers as they drift and sway along the highway.

“They drive like lunatics out here,” said one motorist.

Triple trailers are illegal here in Maryland. But a proposal before Congress could change that and allow trucking companies to increase the weight of tractor trailers from 80,000 to 97,000 pounds—an 8.5 ton difference.

“Obviously if the trucks are bigger, they have additional breaking distance issues, more equipment failures,” said Ragina Averella, AAA Mid-Atlantic.

Representing Maryland, Averella has been on Capitol Hill lobbying against these bigger big rigs.

“The overwhelming majority of Maryland motorists–in fact, 85 percent oppose such legislation,” Averella said.

“They cut people off,” said a motorist.  “And if they are bigger there will be more accidents.”

WJZ spoke with the Maryland Motor Truck Association who says they don’t have a stance either way.  Those who like the proposal say it could save a ton of money in shipping.

A major concern is that Maryland roads wouldn’t be able to support heavier trucks.

“We feel it would do further damage to our transportation infrastructure and our roads and bridges,” Averella said.

A total of 18 states are involved in the fight against this proposed legislation.

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