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House asks feds to lift ban on longer shipping trucks

House asks feds to lift ban on longer shipping trucks

Dustin Hurst
March 10, 2010
Dustin Hurst
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March 10, 2010

Members of the Idaho House of Representatives asked the federal government to loosen restrictions on long combination vehicles, or LCVs as they are commonly referred, as a means for improving shipping in the 13 western states.

The memorial, sponsored by Rep. JoAn Wood, R-Rigby, comes as the United State Congress is working to reauthorize highway funding.  On the Idaho House floor Wednesday, Wood told lawmakers that removing the ban would increase efficiency in shipping and truck transportation.  Wood said that if the ban is lifted, wear and tear on Idaho's roadways could be lessened by having fewer heavy trucks on the road.

According to the California Department of Transportation, LCVs "are tractor-trailer combinations with two or more trailers that may exceed 80,000 pounds gross vehicle weight."  Certain trucks with greater length and higher gross weights have been banned since Congress passed the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act in 1991.

The department says the longer truck combinations have certain benefits, but also offer drawbacks.

The benefits include:

  • Longer trucks can greatly increase the cargo capacity of each driver, which would mean fewer trucks on the roadways. Reduced costs to consumers because of more efficient use of fuel.
  • Reduced traffic and emission as a result of having fewer trucks on that road.

Some of the drawbacks include:

  • Increased safety risks due to additional trailer sway, as well as added time needed for motorists to pass the longer trucks.
  • Increased pavement damage due to heavier loads.  Studies estimate that one big rig can cause pavement damage equal to that of up to 3,000 cars.
  • Possible infrastructure dame due to wider turning space required by longer truck.

The memorial proposed by Wood focuses on the benefits of loosening restrictions.  The text says that if Congress lifts the ban on longer trucks, states could cut down on miles traveled on roadways, pollution, and even highway noise.

If Congress lifts the ban, it would not mean that longer trucks would instantly be allowed on the state highways.  The memorial says that it would be the desire of the 13 states that are subject to the current truck ban to enter into studies as to how to correctly and safely manage the longer trucks.  States would work to study safe routes and commission pilot projects to effectively manage programs.

The measure now heads to the Senate.

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