Bill Would Up Truck Weight Limit to 91,000 Pounds

A bill that would allow individual states to increase the federal vehicle weight limit to 91,000 pounds for tractor-trailers equipped with a sixth axle has been introduced by Rep. Reid Ribble (R-WI).
The Safe, Flexible, and Efficient (SAFE) Trucking Act would “allow fewer trucks to move more cargo in a safer manner” via a configuration compliant with the federal bridge formula, Ribble said during a Sept. 10 telephone press briefing. The bill has been loudly applauded by at least six major associations representing the interests of shippers. But, at least initially, it has drawn no support from trucking-specific lobbies.

Ribble said that he plans to introduce the SAFE Act as an amendment to the long-term highway bill so that the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee is expected to begin marking up soon “so that members can discuss it separately.”

He noted that there is a “fairly broad coalition of members [on the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee] who support itfrom both parties, but I will let them speak for themselves” on his bill. “On the Senate side, I expect [including] this act will be worked out during the conference process.”

The bill “would allow our freight shipping industry to be more efficient while creating less pavement wear and tear and improving safety on our shared roads and bridges,” he said. Ribble noted that another aim of the legislation is “to move heavier trucks [allowed in some states] off local and state roads and onto Interstates.”

The congressman emphasized that despite adding up to 11,000 pounds to its GCW limit, such a truck would operate more safely because its mandated sixth axle would provide it with “stopping power equal to or better than that of a five-axle truck.” The bill would also enable the Dept. of Transportation to require additional safety equipment on these heavier trucks.

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