Could tractor-trailer rigs almost as long as Boeing 737s be driving on a highway near you? If a new transportation bill proposed by House Republicans passes, the answer is yes, and the safety ramifications would be astronomical, say congressional opponents of the bill and the AAA Auto Club.
The American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act introduced Tuesday by Republicans would authorize about $260 billion over five years to fund federal highway programs.The legislation also contains a controversial provision allowing heavier tractor-trailer trucks on highways by increasing the federal weight limit from 80,000 pounds to 97,000 pounds. In some cases, it would allow 126,000-pound trucks onto highways.
The legislation also allows the largest rigs, which comprise two and sometimes three trailers, to be as much as 10 feet longer -- a total length of more than 100 feet.
While statistics from 2010 show overall traffic fatalities declining across the nation, truck crash fatalities actually increased 9%, to 3,675, according to statistics from the Truck Safety Coalition.