Battle Over Big Rigs Pits Efficiency Against Safety

Measure would extended federal limits on big rigs
By Wesley Oliver,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 6, 2009 7:02 AM CDT
A measure supported by highway safety advocates would extend weight and length limits to the entire National Highway System.   (Shutter Stock)
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(Newser) – Bigger is not only better—it’s also safer and greener, say trucking-industry advocates who would like to see limits on the size and weight of big rigs on interstate highways lifted. One tells USA Today bigger trucks are more fuel-efficient and minimize pollution. But if truckers are successful, one opponent says, Americans will “pay with their lives and their wallets.”

Current federal laws restrict 18-wheelers to 80,000 pounds and a maximum length of 53 feet on the interstates. Legislators, citing driver safety and road damage, want those rules extended to the entire national highway system. But trucking industry rep says bigger big rigs present “no safety concerns at all. They are just as safe as lighter trucks.”