Truck Trailer Length Could Increase by 10 Feet

on Sep 29, 2015
Truck Trailer Length Could Increase by 10 Feet

A proposal to make double trailer trucks 10 feet longer has the trucking industry divided. Many companies already use single 53-foot trailers to transport goods across the country, but this proposal would approve the use of twin 33-foot trailers on federal highways. This change is currently moving through Congress in transportation spending bills and has raised strong concern among police officials.

Support the proposal:

Those in favor of the length extension see it as a necessary measure to keep up with demand for goods. A rise in demand for goods played a large role in the increase of combination truck traffic by 15 percent from 2002 to 2012, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation.

Proponents said the change would also reduce the number of trucks on the road because drivers could haul more in a single load. Studies suggest this reduction in truck traffic will prevent more than 900 accidents per year.

Oppose the proposal:

Opponents argue that longer double trailers would lead to many shipping companies switching from single trailers to doubles, and in turn increasing wear and tear on the roads and jeopardizing safety.

A semi with two 33-foot trailers needs 22 additional feet to stop than the current two 28-foot trailer configurations. This causes concern that passenger vehicles will drive into the larger gaps in traffic and not leave enough space to safely stop.

Smaller trucking companies fear they would encounter a competitive disadvantage. Larger carriers would be more easily able to take on 10 more feet of trailer and fill to maximum capacity. However, the weight maximum will not increase so only those hauling lighter goods would be able to haul greater quantities.

The issue for the public may come down to the desire to get shipments quickly versus the fear of travelling with larger trucks on the road.

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