Public Citizen and Chair and Founder of Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways, recently issued the following statement in response to an event by the Agricultural Transprotation Efficiency Coalition.
There is overwhelming scientific evidence showing that overweight trucks are more difficult to control, take longer to stop, are more likely to rollover in crashes and pose a serious safety threat to passenger vehicle occupants. Consequently, it is no surprise that large, heavy trucks are disproportionately responsible for motor vehicle deaths. Although big trucks are only 3 percent of U.S. registered vehicles, they are responsible for 13 percent of annual motor vehicle crash fatalities. When a car has a crash with a big truck, 98 percent of the people who die are in the smaller passenger vehicle.
Not only are American families paying the ultimate price for being forced to share the roads with oversized and overweight trucks, but their safety is also threatened by traveling on over-stressed and seriously compromised roads and bridges. One 80,000 pound tractor-trailer truck does as much damage to roads and bridges as 9,600 cars. Our highways and bridges are already buckling under levels of demand unforeseen by engineers who designed them. Simply put, bigger, heavier trucks are incompatible with the roads and bridges they use. Numerous federal and private sector studies have conclusively and convincingly shown that longer, heavier trucks operate with lower safety margins on both Interstate and lower class roads. Furthermore, heavy trucks do not pay their fair share for highway and bridge deterioration, causing the American public to subsidize the trucking industry’s greed.
The American public is well aware of the innate dangers of oversized trucks and the destruction they cause to our roads, and they do not want them to be even bigger. A recent public opinion poll by Lake Research Partners found that 66 percent oppose changing laws to allow larger trucks carrying heavier loads. More than 80 percent believe that trucks pulling two or three trailers are not as safe as single-trailer trucks. The survey also found that the strong opposition to bigger trucks transcends political party, gender, age, and region.
I urge Congress to listen to the American public and reject this proposal by special interest trucking and shipping industries."
I know in Arkansas we have needless truck crashes every week. I urge each of you who read this to contact your Represantives and tell them to put a stop to unsafe trucking.