(WASHINGTON) – The Senate today scored a victory for highway safety by passing a motion by a 56-31 margin which instructs Senate negotiators of a long-term highway bill to oppose any federal mandate that would force states to allow an increase in length of tractor trailers at this time.
Allowing trucks to pull 33-foot 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.
“On behalf of our more than 700,000 members who turn a key for a living I would like to thank the 56 senators that took a stand today for highway safety,” said Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa. “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.”
More than 4,000 lives are claimed each year on U.S. highways in accidents involving tractor trailers. Thirty-nine states currently don’t allow “twin 33s” on their roads. The federal standard is 28 feet for double trailers.
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.