William “Bill” Hurst, Indianapolis Semi-Truck Accident Lawyer
In July Senate Republicans Richard Shelby and Susan Collins proposed to increase the size of semi-trucks allowable on highways. This proposal, if made into law would pre-empt the laws of individual states, therefore requiring all states to allow these larger semi-trucks on the roads. How much longer are these proposed semis? Roughly 10 feet. That 10 feet may not seem like an overwhelming amount, but when safety considerations are taken into account this new legislation would make a huge difference and it’s not a good one.
These new double trailer trucks would be 84 feet long in total when the cab and two trailers are included. Not only are longer trucks going to be harder to turn and maneuver, but they will also weight more. This added weight will make them harder to stop and create added force when they are involved in a collision. In total, this means there will likely be more car accidents, and those accidents will more often result in catastrophic injuries and even death. Based on the fact that semi-truck accidents already occur all too often the last thing that need to happen is for them to be harder to maneuver.
According to the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety 2,619 people died in accidents involving Semi-Trucks in 2013. If this isn’t startling enough, fatalities and injuries have actually increased since that time. Semi-Truck accidents are bound to cause more devastating results because they are massively larger than a common motor vehicle such as a car. They are also incredibly hard to operate because of the following reasons:
- Length: Because Semis are so long they have large blind spots. These blind spots result in Semi drivers merging over into vehicles next to them, most often on their right. Increasing the length of these vehicles would only increase this issue. Semis also have to make wider turns in order to compensate for their extra length which causes many accidents.
- Weight: Semis weigh more and just like a defensive lineman at full speed takes longer than a receiver to stop, a heavier vehicle does as well. For this reason even a slight lack of awareness by a semi driver can result in an accident.
If this proposal were turned into law we would have semi-trucks that are 10 feet longer than the current trucks. This means larger blind-spots for semis and since they would have extra room, heavier trucks. Jim Richards, the President of KLLM, a large trucking company, recently stated in an interview with “USA Today” that he has safety concerns about the proposal stating “[w]e have a much younger driving force, as everyone struggles to hire qualified drivers” and went on to say, “even today with the 53-foot trailers we have you see trucks struggle to maneuver.” So imagine what would happen with larger semi-trucks on the road.