Heavier Trucks in Virginia Law Sparks Safety Debate
The prospect of heavier trucks in Virginia is alarming safety advocates who fear massive rigs could cause more injuries and deaths on the roads of the Commonwealth.
I am alarmed to read legislation is before the General Assembly that would allow trucks 10,000 pounds heavier on Virginia’s roads.
Anyone who has driven on roads around the Port of Virginia in Norfolk and Portsmouth will be well aware of the dangers posed by big rigs. Heavier trucks in Virginia would be a very real possibility under this legislation. It’s one our Norfolk trucking accident injury lawyers are alarmed about.
The legislation would enroll Virginia in a possible federal program
Virginia would be able to take part in a potential federal pilot program that allows for six-axle, 91,000-pound trucks. That’s 11,000 pounds up from the current weight limit of 80,000 pounds in the commonwealth.
Already two bills – HB1276 and companion bill SB504- are pitting safety advocates and community organizations, the railroad industry as well as some truckers against trucking companies that want to load more products onto every truck, reported the Virginian-Pilot.
Shane Reese with the Alexandria-based Coalition Against Bigger Trucks, which is based in Alexandria pulled no punches about the prospect of heavier trucks. He said:
“This is incredibly alarming for Virginia motorists. These heavier trucks endanger motorists on the highway, damage Virginia’s infrastructure, and cost taxpayers money.”
The bill references a federal pilot program which is not yet in existence. Moves to create such a program have failed in Congress.
Supporters say if a program allowing bigger trucks on the roads is set up, Virginia should be part of it.
Anheuser Busch long with corporate entities including WestRock and the Agribusiness Council that represents Smithfield Foods told a recent Senate Transportation Committee meeting raising weight limits on trucks would allow them to be more competitive in their industries. They said more products per truck would lead to fewer vehicles in total.
The bill was put forward by Del. T. Scott Garrett, R Lynchburg. He wants the Virginia Department of Transportation to study the issue of heavier trucks in Virginia.
However, the Pilot noted the department’s policy division administrator, Jo Anne Perry Maxwell said it would be difficult to study a federal pilot without parameters for it.
At Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers, we see at first hand the terrible destruction and injuries caused by big trucks in Virginia. The notion of these giant rigs getting larger and heavier is s truly alarming one.
If you have been hurt or lost a loved one in a Virginia trucking crash, please call us at (757) 455-0077.