Semi Trailer Tandem Axle

Highway Safety, Maximum Truck Weights Collide

Posted on September 24, 2015 · Posted in DOT Compliance, US Trucking Regulation

Let’s do some simple math in the name of Highway Safety

Sean Kimbrough September 24, 2015

The current house bill, Safe, Flexible and Efficient Trucking Act (Safe Trucking Act) introduced by Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI), to increase trailer weight capacity on U.S. Interstate highways from 80,000 lbs. to 91,000 lbs. has received opposition from Truckload Carriers Association, Truck Safety Coalition and Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. All three groups primary concern is safety, for both drivers and motorists claiming highway safety will be compromised.

I can’t complain with that. Whoever argues against increasing safety on our roadways needs to have their head examined.

What I have a hard time understanding is basic math of their argument. Let’s break it down:

Current maximum weight for truck and trailer is 80,000 lbs. on tandem axle trailers. The bill would require adding a third axle to trailers in order to handle the increased weight limit to 91,000 lbs.

Current: 80,000 lbs. / 5 axles = 16,000 lbs. per axle, on 2 sets of trailer brakes

Proposed: 91,000 lbs. / 6 axles = 15,166 lbs. per axle, on 3 sets of trailer brakes

So the proposal would effectively allow trailer configuration to reduce per axle maximum load weight by 833 lbs while ADDING an additional set of brakes, increasing stopping power. I’m not a mathematician nor do I claim to be the smartest guy in the room, but if you want to argue safety, simple math seems to lean in favor of Rep. Reid Ribble’s bill.

Here is a link to US DOT increased weight capacity study from June, 2015 disputing what the 3 above mentioned groups are claiming.

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Keep On Truck’n America

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