Recently in The Virginian-Pilot, president and CEO of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Bryan K. Stephens wrote an op-ed on solutions for Virginia’s transportation infrastructure.
The article pointed to the shortcomings of our roads. In the Infrastructure Report Card for Virginia, the American Society of Civil Engineers gave our infrastructure a “C-,” pointing out that it costs each Virginia driver $556 per year to drive on roads in need of repair.
In its role advocating for Virginia businesses, the Chamber of Commerce aims to improve transportation infrastructure in the Commonwealth. Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers is a member of the chamber. One measure to which the chamber is opposing is a new proposal in Congress that would raise maximum truck weights from the current 80,000 pounds up to 91,000 pounds.
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This is something that also concerns us as trucking accident injury lawyers. Big rigs cause horrendous injuries on our roads. The prospect of them becoming even larger is frightening.
“At a time when policymakers at every level and in every state are seeking sustainable funding solutions for infrastructure, it makes no sense to allow bigger trucks that would add to our challenges.”
In addition to concerns regarding infrastructure for Hampton Roads businesses, an increase in the maximum truck weight poses a risk to drivers. Large truck crashes are more deadly than those involving smaller vehicles. In 2015, 3,852 people died in large truck crashes. Only 16 percent of them were occupants of the trucks. Almost 70 percent were in other vehicles and 15 percent were motorcyclists, pedestrians or cyclists. See our common causes of tractor-trailer accidents here.
Accidents involving heavier trucks are more likely to cause great injury or fatalities. Additionally, an increase in the maximum weight poses a need for an increase in minimum insurance liability for big rigs.
For years many legislators, personal injury lawyers, and others have been alarmed at the low figure the federally mandated tractor-trailer liability insurance minimum limit has been set at. It has remained at $750,000. As heavier trucks on the road undoubtedly cause greater injuries, an increase the maximum truck weight without raising insurance requirements could potentially cause serious difficulties for injured drivers.
These proposals are extremely alarming as Virginia trucking accident lawyers who see the terrible impact of trucking accidents in the state. If you have been injured by a big rig, you should call Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers at 757.455.0077.