Moves By Trucking Industry Could Mean Bigger Trucks in Virginia
As personal injury lawyers who help people injured in trucking wrecks, we view a renewed push by the trucking industry that would see bigger trucks in Virginia with consternation.
People are already suffering terrible injuries from big rigs and losing their lives on Virginia interstates like I-81, I-64 and I-664.
If the thought of a big rig weighing up to 80,000 pounds wasn’t frightening enough, the trucking industry is seeking to increase the weight limit to 91,000 pounds.
Another lobbying group wants to increase the length of double-trailer trucks to 91 feet.
In the present climate of deregulation, these proposals have a better chance of becoming law and we may be seeing bigger trucks in Virginia.
We already know 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.
The Coalition Against Bigger Trucks refers to limited Department of Transportation testing that suggested heavier trucks have 47 to 400 percent higher crash rates.
The report in 2015 recommended no changes to weight and size limits. It stated that longer double-trailer trucks take 22 feet longer to stop than twin-trailer trucks on the highway. Heavier trucks typically have a higher center of gravity because the extra weight is typically stacked vertically. Raising the center of gravity increases the risk of rollover accidents.
Big rigs can be particularly dangerous when drivers are drowsy or fail to slow down in time. Truckers are banned from mobile phone use under federal law but they do not always abide by the rules. Last year, a trucker was jailed for five years after admitting texting before a crash that killed five nursing students in Georgia.
Bigger Trucks in Virginia – The Implications
There are other concerns about bigger trucks in Virginia too such as the impact they will have on our highways in terms of wear and tear.
In Hampton Roads, trucks serve the Port of Virginia via busy urban streets like Hampton Boulevard in Norfolk and streets in Portsmouth.
The idea of even larger behemoths on the busy streets of Hampton Roads alarms me combined with moves by the trucking industry to relax the rules setting out the number of continuous hours that a truck driver is allowed to drive.
Bigger trucks in Virginia are likely to lead to more serious accidents If you or a loved one has been hurt in a wreck involving a commercial vehicle, please call us today at (757) 455-0077.