Lawmakers Consider Allowing Double-Trailer Commercial Trucks

Federal lawmakers have been warned by safety advocates to reject proposals that would allow larger commercial trucks on roads throughout the country. Trucking industry advocates have been pushing Congress to allow trucks equipped with double-trailers.

The debate started when lawmakers attached several provisions to an appropriations bill. An appropriations bill is legislation that approves funding for various other proposals and projects. In addition to allowing trucks to carry longer trailers, the bill would weaken existing regulations that require truck drivers to get more rest.

According to the New York Times, the bill would further weaken hours-of-service rules, a regulation that required truck drivers to rest for 34 hours after hitting the maximum number of driving hours allowed per week.

Not only would the legislation allow for much larger trucks, it could worsen the dangers motorists face from fatigued truck drivers. Among the critics of the bill is the president of Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, who claims that double-trailer combinations have accident rates 15 percent higher than normal-sized trucks. Presently, states have the option of allowing double-trailers, and many do not.

Have Truck Accidents Increased In Recent Years?

Truck accidents have increased by 16 percent since 2009. In 2012, 3,921 people died in truck accidents across the country. Safety advocates warn that by making it difficult to pass rules on rest requirements and by allowing larger semi-trucks, fatal truck accidents could continue to rise. Once the debate on this legislation has concluded, we will provide an update for our blog.

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