WASHINGTON (Dec. 1, 2015) — The U.S. Senate on Nov. 18 removed language from a spending bill that would force states to allow an increase in the length of tractor trailers.
By a voice vote, the Senate approved an amendment sponsored by Sens. Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) and Dianne Feinstein (D-Calif.) that stripped a provision calling for longer twin tractor-trailers on roadways nationwide. The amendment would also require the Department of Transportation to complete a study before longer trucks could be approved.
In applauding the action, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters said lawmakers took another stand for highway safety.
Previously, the Senate had instructed the chamber's negotiators on the long-term highway bill to oppose any federal mandate that would require states to accept twin 33-foot trailers on their roadways, according to the Teamsters, which noted that the trailers are currently outlawed in 39 states — with UPS and Fed Ex among companies pushing the policy change.
“The Teamsters are encouraged by this latest bipartisan action to prioritize highway safety over greater corporate profits,” Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa said.
“At a time when we must invest in fixing our aging infrastructure, the last thing we should do is introduce larger, more dangerous trucks on our highways. The safety of our members and the entire driving public is too important.”
Allowing trucks to pull the longer trailers would add an additional 10 feet to the length of existing double trailers, the union said, making it harder to pass the trucks and harder for truck drivers to see vehicles beside them. Longer trucks also need greater stopping distances, the statement from the Teamsters added, and thoroughfares that are already over-capacity “leave little room for driver reaction times when it comes to changing lanes and reduced speeds.”
The Teamsters represent 1.4 million truck drivers working throughout the U.S., Canada and Puerto Rico.