Published October 06, 2012, 12:00 AM
Reader’s view: Cravaack, Klobuchar wrong on truck weight restrictions
Nearly 23 years ago, I barely survived a truck crash that left me permanently disfigured. As a result, I became an advocate for truck safety, which is why I was shocked to read in the Sept. 27 News Tribune, “Loggers protest weight limits on Minnesota interstates,” that U.S. Rep. Chip Cravaack and U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar support special-interest truck-weight increases. I thought our members of Congress were sent to Washington to protect and represent their constituents not to push the agenda of one industry.
The most recent truck size and weight pilot programs allowing excessively heavy trucks in Maine and Vermont resulted in more deaths and infrastructure destruction and more resultant costs. Minnesota shouldn’t go down the same road.
“On Vermont’s non-interstate highways, where significant safety gains were expected with the shift of trucks to the interstates, the number of crashes increased by 24 percent,” Vermont’s pilot-program report stated. “(Even with the addition of a 6th axle), the pilot loading results in a 59 percent increase in damage due to Class 10 trucks. … A typical 99,000-(pound), (six)-axle pilot vehicle requires pavement expenditures of 34.5 cents per mile of travel on the interstate system and about 53.6 cents per mile of travel off the interstate system — about 63 (percent) more per vehicle mile and about 32 (percent) more per ton mile than a fully loaded (five)-axle vehicle.”
Increases in truck weights always have resulted in more trucks on the road. We need to come up with innovative solutions rather than just piling the pounds onto our trucks at the peril of innocent motorists and increased risk to truck drivers. Minnesotans cannot afford the loss of lives and injuries and the increased damage and costs of heavier trucks. I urge my fellow Minnesotans to contact Congressman Cravaack and Sen. Klobuchar to tell them big trucks are not right for Minnesota.