Making Roads Safer


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This presentation was made at the Regional Logistics Council meeting on January 20, 2011.

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Making Roads Safer

  1. 1. Making Roads Safer, Protecting the Environment and Strengthening the Economy Through Vehicle Weight Limit Reform Tom Carpenter Director – Logistics, North America
  2. 2. Why Raise the Vehicle Weight Limit? <ul><li>America’s transportation infrastructure faces challenges and is on the verge of becoming overwhelmed over the next decade. </li></ul><ul><li>Freight hauled in the U.S. is expected to nearly double by 2035, and truck traffic is growing 11 times faster than road capacity. </li></ul><ul><li>Comprehensive Safety Analysis (CSA) will impact available drivers. </li></ul><ul><li>At current weight limits, more trucks will have to take to the road to ship these goods. </li></ul><ul><li>Raising weight limits on interstate highways will make roads safer and less congested as demand grows - allowing for more efficient shipping with reduced environmental impact. </li></ul><ul><li>Congress must address to safely and efficiently keep economy running. </li></ul>
  3. 3. What Changes are Needed? <ul><li>The Safe and Efficient Transportation Act (H.R. 1799 / S. 3705) would safely raise truck weight limits without making trucks larger. </li></ul><ul><li>Under SETA, the federal vehicle weight limit would be 97,000 pounds - but only for those vehicles equipped with an additional (sixth) axle. </li></ul><ul><li>The required sixth axle would maintain braking capacity and the current distribution of weight per tire without changing the size of the truck. </li></ul><ul><li>While the additional axle maintains vehicle safety performance and minimizes pavement wear, a user fee for six-axle units would fund vital bridge repair. </li></ul>
  4. 4. What are the Benefits? <ul><li>Raising vehicle weight limits for six-axle tractor-trailers would: </li></ul><ul><li>Make Roads Safer </li></ul><ul><li>Reduce Environmental Impact </li></ul><ul><li>Move More Freight with Fewer Truck Drivers </li></ul><ul><li>Preserve and Improve Infrastructure </li></ul><ul><li>Strengthen the Economy </li></ul>
  5. 5. Making Roads Safer <ul><li>The 80,000 lb. GVW limit is outdated. Status quo will compromise public safety as freight growth will require more trucks on the road. </li></ul><ul><li>The single largest factor in determining the overall number of vehicle / tractor-trailer accidents is total vehicle miles traveled. </li></ul><ul><li>Anti-lock brakes, training requirements and other safety improvements have cut fatal accidents in half since 1982 – making the proposed weight increase a safe alternative to putting more trucks on the road. </li></ul><ul><li>Real world example: MillerCoors would need 2000 fewer trucks each week – eliminating more than one million weekly vehicle miles. </li></ul>
  6. 6. Making Roads Safer <ul><li>Fact-based research is proving that raising the federal weight limit to 97,000 lbs. for six-axle trucks will improve highway safety and help maintain current road conditions. </li></ul><ul><li>Since the United Kingdom raised its 6-axle GVW limit to 97,000 lbs. in 2001, fatal truck-related accident rates have declined by 35 percent. </li></ul><ul><li>2009 Wisconsin DOT study indicated that 90 truck-related accidents per year would be prevented with implementation of SETA. </li></ul><ul><li>The Transportation Research Board determined that heavier vehicles with additional axles do not lose stopping capability as long as axle weight limits are not exceeded. </li></ul>
  7. 7. Protecting the Environment <ul><li>Weight reform will benefit the environment by requiring fewer trucks to ship goods, which saves fuel and reduces greenhouse emissions. </li></ul><ul><li>Six-axle trucks carrying 97,000 lbs. get 17 percent more ton-miles per gallon than five-axle trucks carrying 80,000 lbs. (2008 ATRI study) </li></ul><ul><li>US DOT estimates that raising the federal weight limit would save 2 billion gallons of diesel fuel annually and result in a 19 percent decrease in fuel consumption and emissions per ton-mile. </li></ul><ul><li>Real world example: Kraft Foods would save 6.6 million gallons of fuel consumed and eliminate 146 million pounds of carbon emissions each year. </li></ul>
  8. 8. Preserve and Improve Infrastructure <ul><li>SETA includes user fees for 97,000-pound, six-axle trucks that will fund accelerated bridge repairs and maintenance, while these same trucks will inflict less wear on our nation’s roads. </li></ul><ul><li>The addition of the sixth axle actually reduces the amount of weight displaced per tire. </li></ul><ul><li>SETA would cut the number of trucks needed for shipments – saving $2.4 billion in pavement restoration costs over the next 20 years, according to a US DOT study. </li></ul><ul><li>Fewer trucks and drivers would be required to satisfy America’s shipping needs, putting less overall weight on any given stretch of pavement while effectively dealing with the driver shortage. </li></ul>
  9. 9. Strengthen the Economy <ul><li>Raising weight limits will help US businesses improve their global competitiveness. </li></ul><ul><li>GVW limits in the US are among the lowest of industrialized nations. Canada, Mexico, and most European countries all have higher weight limits. </li></ul><ul><li>As the economy recovers from recession, a severe shortage of long-haul truck drivers is returning and is expected to get much worse. </li></ul><ul><li>Even with increased weight limits, we will need more safe and qualified drivers than are currently available. </li></ul><ul><li>Real world example: International Paper’s annual transportation costs could be reduced by $70 million, after full implementation. </li></ul>
  10. 10. Why Raise the Vehicle Weight Limit? <ul><li>Infrastructure challenges. </li></ul><ul><li>Freight growth outpacing road capacity. </li></ul><ul><li>Severe driver shortage looming. </li></ul><ul><li>Without change, more trucks will be needed. </li></ul><ul><li>Raising weight limits on federal highways will: </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Make roads safer. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reduce congestion as demand grows. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Improve US competitive position globally. </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Reduce environmental impact. </li></ul></ul>
  11. 11. Take Action <ul><li>Do your homework. Read the research that supports this effort. </li></ul><ul><li> </li></ul><ul><li>Congress should pass the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act of 2009 (H.R. 1799 / S. 3705) to allow six-axle tractor trailers to carry up to 97,000 pounds on the interstate highways. </li></ul><ul><li>Six-axle trucks meet the same safety standards as lighter trucks. Allowing these trucks on interstates would make our highways safer, protect the environment and strengthen the economy. </li></ul><ul><li>Ask your member of Congress / Senate to co-sponsor the Safe and Efficient Transportation Act ( H.R. 1799 / S. 3705). </li></ul>