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Poll Shows 3 of 4 Americans Oppose Truck Size Increases

Monday, February 16, 2015   (0 Comments)
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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

February 13, 2015

CONTACT: Shane Reese, 919.339.3785   

                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

While Large Trucking Companies Lobby for Bigger Semitrailers, TX Dept. of Public Safety Officers Assoc. Points to Poll Showing Three of Four Americans Oppose Increases

 

Austin, Texas—While major trucking companies lobby Congress to allow longer and heavier semitrailers, a just-released poll found that three of four Americans oppose longer and heavier semitrailer trucks on the highway.

 

“This poll confirms what Texas Troopers have observed for years: Heavier and longer trucks pose a danger to Texas motorists and should not be on the road,” said Sergeant Gary Chandler of the Texas Department of Public Safety Officers Association.

 

The Coalition Against Bigger Trucks, a nonprofit advocacy group that opposes truck size and weight increases, commissioned the live-operator survey of 1,000 nationwide respondents. The poll was conducted January 5-8, 2015, and had a margin of error of plus or minus 3.1 percentage points.

 

On Capitol Hill, groups composed of some of the nation’s largest and most powerful trucking and shipping interests are lobbying Congress to lift the 1991 federal freeze on longer combination vehicles (LCVs)—triple-trailer trucks and long double-trailer trucks. Other proposals include heavier single-trailer trucks that are up to 97,000 pounds—more than 8 tons heavier than today’s 80,000-pound weight limit.

 

At the same time, large trucking companies such as Con-Way Freight, Old Dominion Freight Line and FedEx are pushing legislation to require every state to permit even longer double trailer trucks. Their proposal would lengthen current double 28-foot trucks by 10 feet to double 33-foot trucks. Often referred to as “Twin 33s,” double 33-foot trucks are 17-feet longer than the standard 53-foot trucks on many roads today.

 

The nationwide survey, conducted by Harrisburg, Pennsylvania-based Harper Polling, found that 76 percent of respondents oppose longer and heavier semitrailer trucks on the highway, while 15 percent support them and 9 percent are unsure.

 

“This nationwide poll illustrates that motorists clearly do not want to be flanked by longer or heavier tractor-trailers on the highway, and that goes for Republicans and Democrats alike,” said Brock McCleary, president of Harper Polling.

 

The trend was largely consistent across political identification, region, age and gender. Also, respondents seem concerned with elected officials whom support truck size and weight increases:  57 percent of respondents said they were less likely to vote for a candidate for Congress who supports longer and heavier trucks.

 

Opponents of heavier and longer trucks, including law enforcement and first responder organizations, are asking constituents to call their respective U.S. Representative and Senators and urge them to vote against any increase in truck size or weight limits.

“We elect members of Congress to watch out for our best safety and interest and, on keeping bigger trucks off our roadways, it is important that they do exactly that,” said Chandler. “There are no shortcuts on highway safety. We either protect Texas motorists or we don’t. The law enforcement community is overwhelmingly in opposition to adding longer and heavier trucks to our roads. We’re talking about real consequences that affect people’s lives.”

 

A 2013 independent study led by Marshall University found that 95 percent of law enforcement officers surveyed believe that adding more weight makes a truck more dangerous. The same study found that 88 percent of truck drivers surveyed say that greater use of longer-combination vehicles would negatively impact highway safety.

 

“Trucks have a place on the road, no one questions that, but let’s face it—loading an additional 8.5 tons onto them or extending their length by 10 feet makes those vehicles more dangerous,” Chandler said. “DPS Commercial Vehicle Enforcement officers remove trucks from service every day that are in bad condition or, even worse, running with bad breaks. If those trucks end up in wrecks, and now they’re heavier or longer, we’re going to see more severe crashes, and more preventable tragedies.”

 

The Harper poll found that 79 percent of respondents are very or somewhat convinced that heavier and longer trucks will lead to more braking problems and longer stopping distances, causing an increase in the number of accidents involving trucks. In 2006, a Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) report to Congress found that 29 percent of truck crashes involved some form of braking problem. Nearly one in five trucks had out-of-service violations during the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance’s Roadcheck 2014, and 46 percent of those trucks were placed out of service due to braking issues.

 

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration reported earlier this month that highway fatalities from truck-involved crashes on U.S. roads rose for the fourth straight year, while overall number of vehicle-related fatalities declined in 2013.

 

“The data shows that longer and heavier trucks are undeniably dangerous,” said Chandler. “We have the research, we know the public opposes them, and we know the law enforcement community opposes them. Bigger trucks are not welcome here in Texas, plain and simple.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation reviewed 30 years of research in 2013 and found that gross vehicle weight would appear to be associated with higher crash rates. The Department’s 2000 study found that multi-trailer trucks are already more dangerous than single-trailer trucks, and have an 11-percent higher fatal crash rate. The 2013 Marshall-led study published similar findings, concluding that double-trailer trucks have an 11-percent higher fatality rate than single-trailer trucks.

 

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CABT is a national, nonprofit grassroots organization with coalitions of nearly 5,000 local supporters in over 30 states. CABT supporters include law enforcement officers, local elected officials, truck drivers, motorists, safety and consumer groups, railroads and citizens groups. To learn more about the fight against bigger trucks, please visit www.cabt.org.


 


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