Are Big Rigs Getting Bigger?

Trucking industry executives are planning for the projected increase in U.S. population and growth of freight demand.  It looks as though productivity for trucks will need to be increased in order to meet the demand.  One of the suggest ways being considered is to make the trucks larger.  Let's explore this topic originally discussed in Transport Topics a little further. 

Moving forward, trucking will continue to be the large-semi-truckleading form of transportation for most consumer goods.  The main reason for this is that Americans demand goods quickly.  Other forms of moving goods such as short-sea shipping and freight rail transportation are too slow to keep up with the demand.  "We're in a hurry.  We don't have time to wait for anything," said Bill Graves, President of the American Trucking Associations.

In order to keep up with this growth in the economy, the transport industry must continue to grow as well.  This is part of the reason we are seeing such an increase in truck driver jobs being offered to students completing our Driver Solutions Training Program, but executives are looking at other options to keep up. 

Referring to the Obama administration's recent proposal to regulate carbon emissions from large trucks, Randy Mullett, Vice President of Government Relations for Con-way said, "You're left with very few options.  And the last lever to pull, with the least expense to the country or industry, is the truck size and weight." 

But how big is too big?

John Runyan, Executive Director of the Coalition for Transportation Productivity said, "Two years ago, no one though they'd be running 97,000-pound trucks on the interstates in Maine and Vermont today, and they are, due to the pilot program...that is likely to be extended and may be extended on a permanent basis in the next couple weeks." 

While most indicate that this is not a perfect solution to the problem, they feel that politically it's probably the only way they will be able to proceed.  It's been brought up by safety groups that increasing the size of trucks will make the roads less safe, but most execs in the industry say that more productive trucks will be safer in the long run and more fuel effecient.

What is your opinion on increasing the size of trucks?  Do you think it will help safety and productivity? 

We will continue to follow this story and keep our readers updated on the progress. 

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