Victims of truck crashes support commercial truck weight limits

The Truck Safety Coalition - a partnership between Parents Against Tired Truckers and the Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways foundation - recently hosted its Sorrow to Strength conference in Washington, D.C. The purpose of the conference was to give truck accident survivors and their families an opportunity to discuss efforts to improve safety on our nation's highways. The TSC also helped arrange meetings between truck crash victims, lawmakers and representatives from the U.S. Department of Transportation to provide valuable insight about the challenges that people face after being injured in truck accidents.

Perhaps most importantly, the TSC worked with families to help build support for the Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation Act. The TSC and other safety groups have spoken out in favor of SHIPA because it prevents the further increase of federal size and weight limits for commercial trucks. If enacted into law, the bill would also address loopholes and exemptions in the current rules that allow the operation of overweight trucks and implement a new enforcement system.

There is no question that truck accidents are a real problem in the U.S. According to estimates by CRASH, approximately 4,000 people in the U.S. die each year in accidents involving commercial trucks. One contributing factor in many of these accidents is the sheer size of the vehicles: the weight of a truck not only makes it more difficult to maneuver in traffic, but also makes it more difficult to stop. The problems caused by heavy commercial trucks are not only safety related. Heavy trucks also cause damage to highways and bridges that require expensive, time consuming repairs.

According to a new poll conducted by Lake Research Partners, there is very little opposition to legislation setting commercial truck weight limits among most Americans. Of those polled, 68 percent said they opposed heavier trucks and 47 percent said they were strongly opposed.

Of course, representatives from the trucking industry are likely to regard SHIPA with some skepticism. One advantage to allowing heavier commercial trucks is that they have to make fewer trips to deliver a given load, which helps keep costs down. Nevertheless, as trucks get bigger and begin hauling larger loads, they pose an even greater threat to drivers in passenger vehicles. Limiting the size and weight of commercial trucks can, in fact, help prevent truck accidents and can save lives.

If you have been injured in a truck accident, contact a personal injury attorney, who can explain your legal options.