Truck Safety Coalition Launches Campaign to Stop Increase in Legal Size and Weight of Large Trucks

A nonprofit group lobbying for stricter safety regulations on large tractor-trailers launched a campaign May 4 to ensure that trucks don’t get any larger. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch’s Along for the Ride blog said the Truck Safety Coalition is opposing a proposal in Congress that would increase the legal limit for how much trucks may weigh. At a press conference in Washington, D.C., the coalition also announced its yearly study of truck-related fatalities in each state per 100,000 people. Missouri was the sixteenth deadliest state, with 2.31 deaths for every 100,000 people in 2007, while Illinois ranked 37th with 1.2 deaths per 100,000.
According to the coalition’s press release (PDF), the proposed legislation the coalition opposes would raise the legally acceptable weight of a semi truck from the current 80,000 pounds to 97,000 pounds. The heavier trucks would have to have a sixth axle and increased braking capability, the post noted. (For comparison, a 2009 Honda Civic weighs between 2,600 and 2,900 pounds, and a Ford F-150 pickup truck weighs between 4,500 and 5,500 pounds.) The coalition backs a different federal bill that would freeze the 80,000-pound weight limit and the 53-foot length limit currently in effect. A poll released by the organization shows that 80% of Americans believe larger trucks would make our roads less safe.
Those Americans are right. As a Missouri trucking injury lawyer, I’ve written several times on this blog about the deadly consequences of a weight mismatch between trucks and ordinary vehicles. When a passenger vehicle collides with a semi truck weighing ten to thirty times as much, the laws of physics ensure that the passenger vehicle will take almost all of the damage. Regardless of who was at fault, the people inside that car are statistically likely to die or sustain very serious injuries, including brain damage, paralysis and severe burn injuries. Truckers themselves are injured in fewer than 10% of trucking accidents, a figure that includes single-vehicle truck crashes.
As a St. Louis tractor-trailer crash attorney, I welcome the Truck Safety Coalition’s efforts. Carey, Danis & Lowe represents people throughout Missouri and southern Illinois who have lost a loved one or been left with permanent disabilities after a crash with a large truck. Frequently, our clients’ medical worries and grief are compounded by financial problems, as six-figure medical bills roll in while victims are physically unable to work. With Missouri semi truck accident lawsuits, we help victims win back that money from trucking companies and truck drivers who hurt them with their careless actions.
If this sounds like your family’s situation, Carey, Danis & Lowe can help. To learn more at a free, confidential consultation, please contact us online or call toll-free at 1-877-678-3400 today.