Area police chief speaks out against bigger trucks, travels to Capitol Hill to voice public safety concern

Congress is considering increased size and weight limits for semi-trailer trucks.
Norwalk Reflector Staff
Apr 8, 2014

 

As Congress considers increased size and weight limits for semi-trailer trucks — including triple-trailer trucks and long double-trailer trucks — leading safety advocates are headed to Capitol Hill to voice their concerns that bigger trucks would endanger motorists.One of the leaders traveling to Washington is Bruce Gower, Clyde police chief, who strongly opposes any increases to truck sizes or weights. While in Washington, Gower will also represent the Ohio Association of Chiefs of Police.

“Triple-trailer trucks are a triple threat: They’re more dangerous, more damaging and more expensive,” Gower said.

“Bigger trucks would endanger Ohioans, no matter what way you look at it,” he said. “Just two years ago, I traveled to D.C. to speak about this very issue. It was defeated then. It’s unfortunate some in Congress did not hear our message, but I will continue to meet with members of our state’s federal delegation until we stop bigger trucks once and for all.”

Congress is considering whether to allow bigger trucks as it works on reauthorizing the surface transportation bill, otherwise known as MAP-21. With pressure from some of the country’s largest trucking companies and businesses pushing for increased size and weight limits, a vote could come as soon as April.

“There were more than 5,100 large-truck collisions in 2012 in Ohio, and 153 people lost their lives, so allowing bigger trucks on our roads would most likely cause those statistics to rise,” Gower said. “It’s time we put the safety of motorists ahead of large trucking companies making a few extra bucks.”

Congress is specifically considering several types of truck-size and weight limits, including allowing triple-trailer trucks, long double-trailer trucks, and increased weight limits for single-trailer trucks to 97,000 pounds—an increase of 8.5 tons.

None of the potential increases sits well with Gower.

“We have all the crash data we need to make a clear decision against bigger trucks,” said Gower. “A U.S. Department of Transportation study found that multi-trailer trucks have an 11-percent higher fatal crash rate than single-trailer trucks,” he said. “That data is bolstered by a study published by university researchers last year, which found a 15.5-percent higher fatal crash rate.”

The research published last year was conducted at Marshall University by the Multimodal Transportation and Infrastructure Consortium (MTIC), a University Transportation Center recognized by the USDOT Research and Innovative Technology Administration (RITA). That same study found that 95 percent of law enforcement officers believe heavier and longer trucks would be more dangerous. The research also found that 88 percent of truck drivers believe greater use of longer-combination vehicles would negatively impact highway safety.

“I’ve talked with my fellow law enforcement officers, and the vast majority of them tell me that bigger trucks would only cause problems,” Gower said.

Gower joins like-minded law enforcement officials from 16 states in making the trip to Washington at the invitation of the Coalition Against Bigger Trucks (CABT), a nonprofit grassroots organization opposed to legislation that would make trucks longer or heavier.

Gower also notes that heavier trucks accelerate the damage done to bridges and roads. “Some people refer to them as ‘bridge-wreckers,’ and roads take a beating from them as well,” he said.

There were 6,773 structurally deficient or functionally obsolete bridges in Ohio as of 2012, according to the Federal Highway Administration.

In Washington, Gower plans to meet on Wednesday, April 9, with members of Ohio’s federal delegation, including House Speaker John Boehner, Rep. Jim Jordan, who represents Clyde, and Rep. Bob Gibbs, who sits on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.

The Moving Ahead for Progress in the 21st Century highway funding act, otherwise known as MAP-21, was approved by Congress in 2012 and is now up for reauthorization before it expires on September 30. As it considers reauthorizing the surface transportation bill, Congress is still waiting on a two-year study from the U.S. Department of Transportation (USDOT) on truck-size and weight limits.

CABT is a national, nonprofit grassroots organization with coalitions of nearly 5,000 local supporters in over 30 states. CABT local supporters include law enforcement officers, local elected officials, truck drivers, motorists, safety and consumer groups, railroads, and citizens groups. To learn more about the fight against bigger trucks, visit www.cabt.org.

Comments

be for real

its not the big trucks that is the problem. it is the people driving cars. They should start with enforcing everyone to have their headlights on when it is raining, truck drivers cannot see the people behind them or beside them because of no lights, all we see is the mist from our tires. Also would be good to educate the public about big trucks like the dangers of riding in blind spot tailgating etc....

truckin

@ foodforthought.
Have you ever considered on the reckless, careless behaviors on truckers you seen are just not real American truckers.
Most people have NO concept to the huge growing number of drivers from other countries? Sure you can tell the India, Somalia, or Asian but what about the white, such as Polish, Russians, Yugoslavian's, South Africa, New Guinea's, just to name a few. Who only reason in this country is the 2 yr. visa, along with an interest free loan on a truck not fit for an American, hauling containers from rail yards, from cities like Detroit, Chicago Cleveland.
Do you really think they are worried about cutting off some local they do not know or ever will???? Make it quick and go home, and let it be there brothers turn next..mentality...
Just giving you a thought. If you don't believe me check, ask around..
You will be amazed

Foodforthought

well I disagree to a point. many truck drivers are also at fault. Falling asleep, tailgating ( way too close to other vehicles), unnecessary passing, driving in left lane, speeding and unsafe lane movements. These are all on the truck driver. And dont say they dont, I travel enough and see it everyday. Truck speed limits need to be 55 max, enforce the left lane law and keep them out of smaller towns unless they are delivering there or close to it.

hit the road jack

I agree,all trucks should stay out of every town then your stupid silly azz can starve to death! As far as the heavier trucks though,I do not believe in letting the weight go up,the roads and bridges weren't designed for 100,000 + trucks,I don't know what the hell the state was thinking when they let farmers get away with the new weight law they passed a year or two ago,the back roads are really starting to show it now with these heavy azz farm trucks.

ladydye_5

You do realize that Rt 20 that goes thru all those small towns is a designated truck route. There are some trucks that are only allowed on Rt 20? All those complaints you have about trucks are the exact same complaints I have about some people in mini vans. With a few added on. Without the trucks in your small town, your "FOOD for thought" would have no FOOD.

be for real

you are right to a point not all of them are careless they are in the left lane because the cars cannot hold one speed most of the time either on the cell phone or texting

truckin

@Food for thought.
55 mph, ??? you would have traffic jams again.
split speeds?? that's a REAL smart one???
Left lane thru towns like Clyde, monroeville, etc. Would be safer due to the fact there are designated left turn lanes but not right. So wouldn't it make sense to eliminate every possible higher % of rear end collisions.?
if you talking on the toll left lane?.. you must be in a big hurry and much more important.

BUT.. more importantly.
These increasing in lengths and weights is NOT totally due to profit.
There has been a sharp decline in personnel wishing to drive trucks!
and, with the average driver age 40 and older, with absolutely no younger crowds wishing to endure what it takes to drive and be gone from time to time. (rather sponge of society) Then you add in human population growth. The industry along with gov. officials see this as being a major problem.

Now as far as speed limits.
these trucks have absolutely came a long way than the past.
I can dane near stop on a dime compared to past.
Many trucks carry the same "smart stop" as new cars.
and once again due to the freight movement requirements to feed, supply the nation.. Freight needed to be picked up and hauled, not slowed down and side lined for every boo hoo car driver that gets ticked when he has to follow one taking off slower than what he/she wants.
Then of course..
another theory of mine, with all these new cafe standards on trks as well as auto the government is losing ALOT of tax revenue from less fuel burned, less tax revenue..
One way to satisfy the tree huggers. Cafe standards, then boost the speed limit up so they just burn more..

hit the road jack

There isn't a shortage of drivers,just a shortage of drivers who will sit around for hours or days waiting for next load,it isn't cheap living on the road nor is it healthy for a lot of drivers,then we have the waiting to load or unload and pay. That is where the problem lies,been there done that!

truckin

I don't know anything of that..
Seems you haven't or didn't have the proper qualifications to get with anything more than a fly by company.
Anymore it seems most ( i guess i have to say most) companies do have there logistics straight now-a-days and i just don't here much on drivers sitting..
Maybe it's me since i do not spend many nights on the road anymore or anything much more than d/h. Even when at a dock i just don't experience much wasted time..
Shortage is not now!
But with age of current drivers and many who will only get medically certified until may of this year and within 2 yrs. (current expiration date)..so many will not get re-certified due to more stringent weight and fitness requirements. You will not be able to use your doctor and doctors are to be held responsible for fudging certificates..Lot's will just not cut it..
Do you not listen to sirrus trucker news???
or are you one of those that tried truckin for a month or 2? got a bad taste, missed being next to mama ever moment, didn't hang long enough to actually get some experience to make a go of the career.
but ( been there done that)
Recruiting school total graduates is like at 25% of what they once were around the early 90's when CDL came to be. Then of those who do seek out the jobs are already well in there 40's and still know the value of doing what ever it takes to provide for themselves!!
The only 20's some are Vet's..
Sure there is still a high turn over rate but that is due to the same existing driver pool, jockeying around.
I know at my current rate i will be out within 10 as will many others..
Just look at baby boomers..
They will STILL be alive in 20 but who will bring there food across country??

hit the road jack

I got more miles in reverse than you do in foreward! ran out west for years so I don't think you even qualify to even speak to me on this chit,I drove more than 30 years so when you even get close you can talk,until then I don't even want to hear it,your still wet behind the ears. Hell,I can remember when your ol'man drove a cabover International,pulling a flatbed that had bald tires and 4 lights that worked on the whole truck and worked on it daily at Monroeville Oil.

truckin

also jack.
I am not saying you are one of those, but i hear so many "former" drivers with 6 months worth of stories spewing it like they have 20+ yrs of knowing what they are talking about.
It used to be my job determining within 5 minutes whether a driver actually knew what he was talking about or full of BS.
Nothing personal your on the bs side of the curve.
Kinda like those who bad talk about O/O.
Never really lasted long enough or financial saavy enough to actually make it.

shovelhead

Don't sugar coat it....tell us how you really feel.