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Congress considering measure to increase minimum trailer lengths for truckers

Trucking safety is something that matters to all drivers, since all of us share the road. When large trucks put other drivers at risk of becoming involved in an accident, it is a cause for concern. Truck safety regulations, both at the state and federal level, seek to ensure that gross risks associated with commercial trucks are eliminated. Federal commercial trucking regulations include a variety of rules aimed at trucking safety.

Among these are rules pertaining to the length of trailers and double trailers. The latter is actually a current issue in discussion among lawmakers in Congress, who are considering a proposal to increase the minimum length requirement for these trailers. 

At present, federal law requires states to allow trucking companies to use double trailers that are at least 28 feet long each. There is no overall length limit when trailers don’t exceed this length, but maximum lengths are regulated when one trailing unit is longer than 28.5 feet. In such cases, the Intermodal Surface Transportation Efficiency Act of 1991 (ISTEA) applies. Here in Alabama, no maximum lengths are prescribed under ISTEA.

The proposal mentioned earlier would change the situation by requiring states to allow a minimum length of 33 feet per trailing unit for double trailers. Both houses of Congress are considering the same provision. Republicans have, by and large, expressed strong support of the change, but concerns have been raised by safety advocates.

In our next post, we’ll continue looking at this issue, and offer some comments on the importance of working with an experienced attorney when one is injured in a commercial trucking accident.

Sources:

U.S. Department of Transportation, “Federal Size Regulations for Commercial Motor Vehicles,” December 3, 2013. 

Roll Call, “Truckers Push Efficiency in Case for Longer Trailers,” Kellie Mejdrich, July 7, 2015. 

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