Bill seeks to increase max truck weight to 97K

If the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act of 2009 passes, as is expected, then over-the-highway trucks will be able to carry up to 97,000 pounds. Currently they can carry 80,000 pounds. Increasing the weight by 17,000 pounds will make trucks more efficient. However the additional weight allowance will require trucks to add a sixth axle. The sixth axle adds two more brakes, preventing an increase in stopping distances, and avoids additional pavement damage, according to ATA officials and a story in

Increasing the maximum weight of a truck to 97,000 pounds will reduce overall fuel costs as well as labor costs since four trucks will be able to do the work of five trucks — a 20% improvement. Highway safety will likely increase due to fewer trucks on the road as well as having those trucks driven by better educated drivers. Students who learn to drive at Drivers Solution truck driving school are better prepared for these changes once they go into effect.

"It is important to note there are no mandates in this bill," says Clayton Boyce, a spokesman for the American Trucking Associations (ATA ) "The highways on which these vehicles will operate will be chosen by individual states that choose to authorize their use. States will be empowered to route these vehicles in a way that minimizes additional costs."

Of course these changes in maximum weight aren’t without drawbacks. The nation’s infrastructure is in great need of repair and update so routes for these heavier trucks will be very specific since some bridges cannot handle that kind of weight. If the bill is passed some bridges will have to be replaced and in order to pay for those costs, which many states cannot afford at this time, vehicles will be required to pay an additional fee, which the ATA supports, and which will be dedicated to bridge investments in those states that authorize their use.