(WASHINGTON) – Lawmakers took another stand for highway safety yesterday when the Senate removed language from a spending bill that would force states to allow an increase in the length of tractor trailers.
By a voice vote, the Senate approved an amendment sponsored by Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) that stripped a provision calling for longer twin tractor-trailers on roadways nationwide. The amendment would also require the Department of Transportation to complete a study before longer trucks could be approved.
Just last week, the Senate instructed the chamber’s negotiators on the long-term highway bill to oppose any federal mandate that would require states to accept twin 33-foot trailers on their roadways. They are currently outlawed in 39 states. UPS and Fed Ex are among those pushing the policy change.
“The Teamsters are encouraged by this latest bipartisan action to prioritize highway safety over greater corporate profits,” Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said. “At a time when we must invest in fixing our aging infrastructure, the last thing we should do is introduce larger, more dangerous trucks on our highways. The safety of our members and the entire driving public is too important.”
Allowing trucks to pull the longer trailers would add an additional 10 feet to the length of existing double trailers, making it harder to pass these trucks and harder for truck drivers to see who’s beside them. Longer trucks also need greater stopping distances, and already over-capacity thoroughfares leave little room for driver reaction times when it comes to changing lanes and reduced speeds.
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents 1.4 million hardworking men and women throughout the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico. Visit www.teamster.org for more information. Follow us on Twitter @Teamsters and on Facebook at www.facebook.com/teamsters.