As the economy improves, the nation’s roads could become more crowded with semi-trucks hauling goods. A federal proposal to increase weight limits could help to reduce traffic volume though.
The legislation co-sponsored by US Senator Herb Kohl (D-WI) would lift weight limits on trucks from 80,000 to 97,000 pounds. Wisconsin Motor Carriers Association President Tom Howells says sees some benefits to the proposal, such as simply reducing the need to have as many trucks out on the road.
The proposal would require trucks to add a sixth axle and additional braking capacity to handle the larger loads. Howells says that should keep other drivers safe and help to reduce any damage to the interstate system from the heavier weight.
However, Howells says there could be problems if states opt-out of the changes, which the bill allows. He says Wisconsin could adopt the higher weight standards, but the benefits would be limited if neighboring states choose not to go along with them.
Howells says some companies may also shy away from the costs of upgrading their equipment to carry more weight, which could be quite expensive when dealing with a large fleet of trucks.