Bills could be first step to “monster trucks” on Virginia roads

A proposal to have Virginia study allowing larger trucks on the road has safety advocates alarmed.

A pair of bills, HB1276 and SB504, are currently being considered by Virginia state lawmakers that could be the first step to allowing so-called "monster trucks" onto Virginia's highways and roads. As the Washington Post reports, the bills would permit the Virginia Department of Transportation to study the effects that allowing 91,000-pound trucks on roads and highways would have. Currently, trucks are subject to an 80,000-pound weight limit. Critics claim that allowing the larger trucks could increase the number and severity of truck accidents in the state while advocates of the bills say larger trucks would benefit the economy.

States ponder larger truck legislation

The bills would give the Virginia DOT the opportunity to study the safety and efficiency of 91,000-pound trucks. Supporters of the bills say that studying the larger trucks would give Virginia the opportunity to take part in any federal pilot program involving 91,000-pound trucks. While no such federal pilot program has been proposed, the bills' supporters say studying the issue at the state level would put Virginia at the forefront of the issue.

In fact, the trucking industry attempted to increase weight limits on trucks at the federal level in 2015. Congress, however, rejected those increased limits at the time, which has led many trucking lobbyists to try to bypass the federal limits by advocating for increased limits at the state level.

Concerns about safety issues

However, while some state lawmakers may support looking into increased weight limits on trucks, the public remains firmly against allowing larger trucks on the road. As The Hill reports, a poll released by the Coalition Against Bigger Trucks (CABT) earlier this year found that 79 percent of Americans are against allowing heavier and longer trucks on the road. Critics in Virginia are especially concerned about allowing such "monster trucks" on the already busy Interstate 81.

Critics also point out that there are numerous safety concerns with the bigger trucks. A study by the U.S. Department of Transportation, for example, found that accident rates increased by 47 percent for trucks that weigh 91,000 pounds and that such trucks have higher rates of violations for faulty brakes. Critics also contend that the heavier trucks would damage roads and bridges, thus making that transportation infrastructure more dangerous for all motorists and costlier for state and local governments to maintain.

Personal injury law

For anybody who has been hurt in an accident, especially an accident involving a commercial vehicle, it is important to reach out to a personal injury attorney quickly. Truck accidents can lead to complicated liability issues involving not just the driver, but the delivery company, the truck owner, and others. A per sonal injury attorney can help accident victims pursue whatever financial compensation they may be entitled to and that compensation could prove extremely useful in covering the costs of medical care, lost income, vehicle damage, and more.