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Congress to Discuss National Truck Weight Limits

Within the upcoming months, Congress will be conducting debates over the various areas of transportation. A Chicago truck accident lawyer at our firm read an article posted on NLC.org which detailed that one of the most highly debated topics will involve the discussion of national truck weight limits. Under the current weight limits that were implemented in 1991, a large commercial vehicle is restricted to an 80,000 pound weight limit on all interstate highways. In the past several years, lawmakers have introduced legislation that would preserve the current maximum weight limit much to the dismay of numerous naysayers who advocate for heavier trucks.

Critics of the 80,000 weight limit argue that by allowing heavier trucks would ultimately mean fewer large commercial vehicles to move the same amount of products and goods. Therefore, they argue, that fewer trucks on our nation’s roadways would increase the overall highway safety. On the other hand, there are an overabundance of individuals and lawmakers who are strongly against the increase in large truck weight limits. Those who oppose an increase in weight restrictions argue that heavier commercial vehicles are extremely difficult to control and stop.

Additional criticisms of heavier trucks concern the immense amount of damage that a large commercial vehicle has on our nation’s roadways and bridges. Our Chicago truck accident attorneys read that an estimated 23,550 of the 116,523 bridges on the National Highway System are rated as structurally deficient or functionally obsolete, according to the United States Department of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration. In response to the immense need to save our roadways from continued damage, a bill titled The Safe Highway and Infrastructure Preservation Act, had been proposed by both the House and the Senate.

The Safe Highway and Infrastructure Preservation Act cites a study that was conducted in Illinois which revealed that by raising a large trucks weight limit from the current 80,000 pounds to the proposed 97,000 pounds would ultimately cause an overall $162 million in damages to highways … in addition to the current wear and tear on roadways and bridges. Our Illinois accident attorneys read that subsequent legislation has been proposed by those for the in favor of the increased weight limit. The bill would allow for trucks weighing up to 97,000 pounds to operate on federal highways, as well as, give states across the country the option to increase their weight limits if they deem it appropriate or necessary.