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Are Super-Heavy Trucks Coming To Wisconsin Highways?

Posted on Aug 14, 2011

U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) has introduced The Commercial Truck Safety Act, legislation intended to end what Snowe describes as inequitable government regulation that allows six-axle trucks weighing up to 100,000 pounds to travel on some interstate highways and not on others.

The countrywide limit on truck weight is currently 80,000 pounds, with 27 states allowing larger and heavier 6-axle trucks weighing up to 100,000 pounds to ride on the state's interstate highways, while in the remaining 23 states authorization is accorded on a case by case basis and must be renewed. Super-heavy trucks in Maine, the Commercial Carrier Journal reports, end up having to unload cargo onto smaller trucks or ride on secondary roads often leading through small towns and communities.

Not everyone agrees with the proposed bill. Road Safe America, a non-profit organization dedicated to safety on America's highways, wants the government to impose the use of speed governors at maximum 65 mph and to require electronic on-board recorders to accurately register the activities of truck and driver.

Electronic speed governors come as standard equipment on all tractor-trailer trucks made in the United States, but their activation and the maximum speed is not directed by law.

In the European Union, Road Safe America further explains, 100,000 pound trucks are allowed but their speed governors are set at 56 mph and all trucks have electronic on-board recorders that make the enforcement of hours-of-service regulations far more efficient.

The main argument against supersized trucks is the devastation caused by these trucks, up to 30 times the weight of a passenger car, in the event of a driver inattention or error.