Letter to the Editor: Increasing truck weight limits will be detrimental


Shayne Ryerson’s Oct. 5 letter outlined current deficiencies in the nation’s highway and bridge system and the detrimental impact the proposed legislation would have.  The legislation is House of Representatives Resolution 3488, which would raise the truck weight limit from 80,000 to 91,000 pounds, an increase of 5 ½ tons.  Being a professional truck driver, Mr. Ryerson is in a position to judge the serious consequences that passing HR 3488 would have.

I agree that passing this legislation would be detrimental to our roads and bridges, result in additional taxes, and in effect be additional corporate welfare for the trucking industry.  It prompted me to write Bob Goodlatte to provide a copy of the letter and two other reasons why HR 3488 should not be passed.

The weight and speed of the vehicles involved in emergency stop situations are critical.  Although truck drivers are generally excellent drivers, a truck hauling 80,000 pounds cannot stop as quickly as a 4,000-pound car.  If the car is in front of the truck, it is going to get run over.  Increasing the weight a truck can haul by 5 ½ tons makes the potential for carnage worse.


Speed is the another critical factor.  Most truck drivers are paid by the mile.  The farther they drive, the more money they make.  This gives them a financial incentive to speed and this, in conjunction with the weight, increases the potential for deadly accidents.  Even if the car and the truck following it are driving the speed limit, the truck will require more distance to stop.


In summary, increasing the weight limit for trucks to 91,000 pounds would further increase the safety hazards on our highways, increase the damage trucks do to our highways and bridges, and require more taxes to upgrade and maintain the highway and bridge system to support the added weight.  It is therefore important that citizens make their concerns known to their congressmen by calls, emails, and/or letters.  The lobbyist for the trucking industry certainly are.


Kent Womack, Woodstock