Trucking Federal agencies

DOT says more time needed to study truck sizes

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Photo: Darin Burt/iStock/Thinkstock

Washington – The Department of Transportation says it needs more data to determine the safety ramifications of allowing longer, heavier trucks and buses on the nation’s roads.

DOT explained its position June 5 after releasing a series of technical reports on the issue. The reports mark the latest step in DOT’s comprehensive study of truck size and weight limits, required under a 2012 transportation funding bill known as MAP-21.

In a letter to members of Congress, DOT Under Secretary for Policy Peter M. Rogoff highlighted some data limitations the agency has encountered. Rogoff cited law-enforcement crash reports that do not include weight data, a lack of information about bridge-deck deterioration and how it applies to truck sizes, and challenges in isolating the cost of truck weight enforcement programs.

“The Department believes that no changes in the relevant truck size and weight laws and regulations should be considered until these data limitations are overcome,” Rogoff said.

The announcement was met with mixed reviews. Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety President Jackie Gillan said DOT’s statement was “sound, sensible and will ensure safety.” American Trucking Associations President and CEO Bill Graves disagreed, describing the report as “flimsy” and counter to ATA’s research that concluded longer trailers are safe and efficient.