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Just How Dangerous are Bigger Trucks?

Over the past few years, there has been much debate about the advantages and dangers of big trucks. Some experts in the trucking industry have sought to increase the maximum size of commercial trucks permitted on the nation’s roads, claiming more trucks is better economically, for the environment, and for safety.

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But can larger trucks really reduce the number of truck accidents in Miami and other cities across the nation? According to The Coalition Against Bigger Trucks (CABT), the answer is “no.” The advocacy group points out there are a number of safety dangers with larger tractor trailers, including:

  • Higher risks of collisions. CABT cites research from USDOT (The U.S. Department of Transportation), which found that tractor trailer trucks with more than one trailer had an 11% higher fatal collision rate when compared with smaller one-trailer trucks.
  • Higher risks of rollovers. According to USDOT, heavier trucks load their cargo higher, meaning they have a higher center of gravity and an increased risk for rollover accidents.
  • Higher risks of damaged roads and bridges. According to USDOT, permitting heavier trucks would increase the costs of current roads and bridges would mean $53 billion in additional costs. Heavier trucks place added pressure on the roads and on other infrastructure.
  • Higher deficits. According to CABT, only about 80% of infrastructure damage caused by an 80,000 commercial truck is paid for by the truck’s carrier and driver. For a 97,000-pound commercial trailer, CABT estimates the larger truck would only pay for half of the infrastructure damage it would cause, putting further pressure on The Highway Trust Fund and taxpayers.
  • More traffic. According to a 2010 study cited by CABT, increasing the size and weight of trucks would increase the number of trucks by 56% as more transport customers would switch from rail transportation to truck transportation.

What do you think? Do you think heavier trucks would be more efficient and would allow carriers to place less pressure on drivers, leading to safer roads? Or do you think larger trucks are more dangerous and could lead to more traffic accidents in Miami or your city?

For now, the debate continues and at this time it is not clear whether larger and heavier trucks will be approved by legislators. One way customers are protected today, however, is though the civil courts system. If you have been injured by a defective truck or by negligence in a truck accident, you may have a claim which could help you pay for car repairs, hospital bills, and other losses.  To find out more and to find out whether you may qualify, contact Flaxman Law Group for  a free, no obligation consultation.