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Bill seeks to end truck weight restrictions on interstates

August 3, 2011

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Washington – New legislation introduced late last month would allow heavy trucks to travel on interstate highways in more states throughout the country – a move the bill’s sponsor said would improve safety.

Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) introduced the Commercial Trucking Safety Act (S. 1450) July 29. Currently, six-axle trucks weighing up to 100,000 pounds are allowed on interstate highways in 27 states. Several other states have weight limits of 80,000 pounds, meaning trucks either have to unload cargo or travel on secondary roadways, according to a press release from Snowe.

Snowe suggested trucks traveling on secondary roads – many of which pass right by home driveways and schools and through many intersections – pose a greater safety risk than trucks traveling on highways.

By eliminating the need for states to seek individual weight-limit exemptions from Congress, the bill would instruct the Department of Transportation to waive the weight limit for a three-year pilot program. A safety committee also created by the bill would report to the secretary of labor at the end of the pilot program on whether the exemption should become permanent.

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