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Noland Law Firm, LLC Legal Blog

Friday, September 25, 2015

The choice? Larger trucks vs. highway safety

On behalf of Noland Law Firm, LLC posted in truck accidents on Friday, September 25, 2015.

The issue of truck safety is important to Kansas City. As any driver in Kansas City will recognize, there is no shortage of trucks on the area's interstates. Whether crossing the nation on I-70 or heading north or south on I-35, thousands of trucks pass through Kansas City every day.

Truck traffic has increased since the recession. In addition, the growth of internet retailing has fueled an increase in shipments of cargo moved by truck, as customers expect faster and faster deliveries. Trucking companies like FedEx and UPS have already been using tandem trailers to meet this challenge.

But now, they want even bigger trailers. Proposals are pending in Congress that would allow 10 feet to be added to the length of double trailers. They would allow two 33-foot trailers, up from the current standard of 28 feet and make a combination tractor-trailer  that would be equal to "an eight-story building" driving down the highway.

On sections of road, where there are three lanes, imagine your discomfort at being sandwiched in between two of these behemoths. And imagine your terror if something went wrong and a tire blew out or a truck driver dozed off.

Law enforcement officers recognize the danger; after all, they are often among the first responders when a truck crash occurs on the highway and they understand the carnage that these massive trucks could cause if they are involved in a crash.

The trucking industry, or at least some of it, argues it will improve safety, as it will allow more products to be carried on fewer trucks. While that is potentially true, if overall shipments of products continue to increase, it seems unlikely that I-70 across Missouri will actually see fewer trucks.

Given the favorable treatment the trucking industry has received in Congress, it seems likely we all will have to get used the risk of driving around these ever-larger trucks.


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