Oklahoma trooper testifies about truck accident statistics

Lawmakers in Oklahoma are increasingly concerned about a potential increase of allowable weight on semi-trucks on the state's roads. That is why a representative from the Oklahoma Highway Patrol was sent to testify against increasing the weight limit within the state and on roads throughout the nation. The trooper was a part of a coalition that opposes increases in trailer weight limits, largely because of the potential for fatal and injurious collisions.

The trooper, who serves as the secretary of the Oklahoma State Troopers Association, visited the offices of two national legislators during a recent trip to the nation's capital. Those two politicians both participate in committee activities designed to improve long-term legislation for the transportation industry.

New national laws could allow for larger single-trailer truck loads, with an increase from 80,000 pounds to 97,000 pounds. Some have argued that the larger trucks would actually be safer, perhaps because they cannot move as quickly. A study related to truck weights and sizes is due to be submitted to Congress in November.

The Oklahoma trooper argued against increasing weight limits because of several statistics. First, estimates show that larger six-axle trucks cause about eight times more fatalities than their smaller five-axle counterparts. Further, double-trailer trucks experience a 15.5 percent increase in fatality crashes when compared to single-trailer rigs.

It is the responsibility of the national legislators to keep drivers safe by limiting traffic that could lead to an 18-wheeler accident. These injurious crashes can have devastating effects on families and communities in Oklahoma and other states. The laws should be optimized to provide the safest environment for everyday motorists.

Source: The Oklahoman, "Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper warns lawmakers against allowing bigger trucks on roads" Chris Casteel, Apr. 10, 2014

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