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Federal Weight Changes May Impact Illinois Trucking Safety

Local safety experts and law enforcement professionals are expressing concern about a proposed federal law that they say may increase the number of Illinois truck accidents. The Daily Herald published a story this morning that explained pending legislation out of Congress that would increase the weight limit for trucks traveling on the highway. The current maximum is 80,000 pounds. However, if the changes make it through Congress states would have the option of raising that ceiling to 97,000 pounds.

Local observers are concerned about the impact of the change. One local police chief explained his belief that “increased truck weights will be a detriment to roads and the safety of the driving public.” In particular, the chief notes that with heavier trucks comes an increased risk of rollover accidents, challenges to maneuverability, and increased difficulty in stopping.

Many others echo those concerns. An Illinois state senator (and former police chief) noted that “if you add another 17,000 it’s very dangerous…you are taking a risk.” He is a CDL license holder himself. The senator noted that more weight makes the consequences of non-calibrated brakes even more damaging. It will take the truck longer to stop and more collisions may result.

Advocates for the trucking industry believe that the change will necessitate fewer trips, leading to less traffic, less cost, and reduce fuel consumption. However, even some in the industry have reservations about the measure.

Our Illinois truck crash lawyers have worked with victims of these accidents-we understand the seriousness with which safety risks must be evaluated. In the end, there is nothing more important than the safety of the travelers on our area roadways and highways. Anything that even slightly increases those risks, and thereby puts lives in jeopardy, must have very clear benefits. Otherwise it would not be worth sacrificing road safety in any form.

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