Recently, our Chicago truck accident attorneys read a report on SunHerald.com detailing several laws that have been implemented by a number of states which permit heavier commercial vehicles to operate on our nation’s roadways. Despite the national weight limit of commercial vehicles on interstate highways as a mandated 80,000 pounds, numerous states are now legally permitting and granting exceptions to semi trucks that weigh up to 100,000 pounds. With these exceptions in place, many individuals are now arguing the safety of allowing such massive vehicles to share the roadways with significantly smaller vehicles.
Those in favor of the increased weight limit argue that higher weight restrictions actually encourage highway safety due to the fact that it will require fewer commercial vehicles to transport the same amount of cargo. Supporters state that with fewer commercial vehicles on our roadways, the amount of pollution and cost of doing business will significantly decrease.
On the other end of the spectrum, critics of this exception argue that heavier commercial vehicles create a significant threat to highway safety because larger vehicles take considerably longer to stop and are noticeably difficult to maneuver. Additionally, those opposed to the increased weight limits contend that heavier trucks will cause substantial highway damage which will ultimately cost taxpayers more money each year.
In light of the heated debate on the issue of increased weight restrictions on large commercial vehicles, a new bill has been submitted to the United States Congress, titled the Safety Highway and Infrastructure Preservation Act, which would put a freeze on the 80,000 pound limit. Legislators argue that heavier vehicles are considerably more likely to be involved in semi truck accident, in addition to, causing severe highway damage. A study recently conducted in Illinois revealed that raising the weight limit of commercial vehicles to 97,000 pounds would cause an additional $162 million in damage to federal highways in the state each year.
Our Chicago semi truck accident lawyers urge lawmakers to take careful consideration when enacting laws that may ultimately pose a significant threat to safety of those traveling our roadways. Given the already substantial amount of semi truck accidents that occur each day throughout our nation, increasing the weight limit of large commercial vehicles will in the end do more harm than good. When a vehicle’s weight increases, the stopping distance required for the vehicle increases as well … eventually causing more frequent, as well as, seriously life-threatening accidents.