TALLAHASSEE, Fla., June 3 /PRNewswire/ -- Highway safety advocacy group Road Safe America and others concerned about more death and injury on Florida's roads are urging Gov. Charlie Crist to veto House Bill 1271, which includes raising the maximum weight carried by Florida trucks from 80,000 pounds to 88,000 pounds.
Road Safe America (www.roadsafeamerica.org) predicts the 10% increase in total weight without requiring any additional axles or brakes for control or stopping power will cause more wrecks as the heavier trucks take longer to stop and are harder to maneuver in an emergency.
"Floridians must ask themselves 'Who benefits from Governor Crist's raising the weight limit? And why is he willing to do this as a lame duck governor?'" declared Tom Hodgson, Executive Director of Road Safe America.
Nationwide, the weight limit for heavy commercial vehicles has been 80,000 pounds for years. This weight is 20 to 30 times the weight of an average passenger vehicle, and statistics show that these loaded trucks take more than three times the distance to stop as a passenger car when both are traveling at the same speed.
This deadly combination of weight and speed ensures that the person in the car will be the victim should they collide. Adding an additional 8,000 pounds to an 18-wheeler without requiring them to go slower is bound to make Florida's highways more dangerous.
Road Safe America is not the only organization that disagrees with House Bill 1271. The Florida Coalition for Safe Highways asked Gov. Crist to veto the bill and considers it to be a safety hazard as well.
"The dangers of increasing tractor-trailer truck weights are well known - they are harder to stop, steer and more vulnerable to roll over during a crash," said Tom Guilmet, the Executive Director of the Florida Safety Council. "But, by far, the most compelling objection to heavier trucks is the fact that they will cause more deaths and injuries on our highways."
According to statemaster.com, Florida currently ranks as the 20th least safe state when it comes to large truck fatalities per capita. Not only is Florida ranked poorly in truck safety, but the state's laws also allow trucks and passenger cars to travel at the same speed, 70 mph. It is obvious that slowing trucks down makes for safer highways. California, which has a speed limit of only 55 mph for trucks, is the 7th safest state according to statemaster.com.
What this argument comes down to is money. Trucking companies want to be able to ship more goods without having to hire another driver.
Heavy commercial vehicles should be limited to carrying no more than 80,000 pounds. Also, Road Safe America wants all large commercial vehicles required to set their on-board speed governors, which are already installed at the factory as standard equipment, at 65 mph or slower. These two simple steps would keep trucks traveling at speeds that are safer for all travelers on our nation's roads.
Road Safe America is not anti-trucking or anti-trucker. We recognize the vital role truckers play in our economy. But we are adamantly pro-safety and believe that our highways can be safer with common sense rules that slow down the big trucks and use technology that is already available to make them safer.
SOURCE Road Safe America