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Proposals for bigger, heavier trucks fall in final highway bill

There's a trucking crisis in the United States. Have you heard? Experts in the field say there aren't enough drivers and there aren't a lot of people looking to get into the industry.

Many critics point to a thick book of state and federal regulations that govern the industry as one of the reasons why the shortage exists. They say that's putting a lot of pressure on the existing ranks of drivers to push the boundaries of safety, and solutions that some have proposed to meet the problem have included increasing the sizes and weights of semitrailer trucks that now ply the roads of Texas and the other states.

Many experts disagree with those ideas as we noted in a post in October. Among them are some Dallas-area law enforcement officials who opted to speak out. The crux of their concern is that too many of the trucks they see on the road now are unsafe and that adding weight will only make them more so.

The good news is that lawmakers in Washington apparently took that feedback seriously. Earlier this month, President Obama signed the Fixing America's Surface Transportation Act into law. Notably absent from the measure is language that would have allowed for trucks to not only be heavier but also longer.

As the National Association of Truck Stop Operators has reported, the industry had lobbied to increase allowable truck weights 91,000 pounds. Current maximum weights are set at 80,000. Some also had pushed to allow the length of tandem trailers to go from 28 feet to 33 feet.

Those with experience in personal injury law know that large commercial vehicles already pose a significant threat when they are involved in accidents. Those in smaller vehicles almost invariably end up suffering the worst and face challenges seeking due compensation.

At least longer, heavier trucks isn't something we have to worry about for now.

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