Truck Safety Coalition Says Allowing 53-Foot Long Tractor-Trailers Onto North Carolina Highways Will Endanger Lives
The Truck Safety Coalition says that a legislative proposal that would let 53-foot tractor-trailers onto main highway routes in North Carolina is dangerous and could cause serious truck injuries. The proposal just passed in the state Senate and will now be considered by House lawmakers.
Opponents of the new legislation have voiced concerns that the longer trucks are hard to control on narrow, winding, and two-lane roads even for experienced truckers. In some North Carolina areas, other motorists have been run off the roads because the drivers of 48-foot trucks haven’t been able to stay in their lanes.
The House of Transportation Committee will look at the bill this week, which the North Carolina Senate approved by a 47-0 vote last week. If approved, the measure would also loosen weight restrictions on trucks and allow for the transportation of recreational boats 10 feet wide or smaller without a permit. The current regulation allows only boats 8 ½ feet wide or smaller to be transported on North Carolina’s roads without a permit.
Supporters of the bill claim that 53-foot trailers is the new industry standard and that passing the proposal will help boost the state’s economy. However, while it allows for the barring of certain vehicles on specific routes if engineering studies show that their presence on these roads is a hazard, the new legislation does not mandate the studies.
Trucking accidents can cause serious injuries to passengers. Truck accidents have been known to occur when the truck driver:
1) Steps on the brakes. Bigger trucks can’t stop as quickly as smaller trucks, cars, and motorcycles. Many large trucks need almost 800 feet to brake to a stop—compared to the approximately 400 feet that many motorists need.
2) Makes a turn. Larger trucks need more space to turn left or right.
3) Fails to notice a vehicle or pedestrian in the truck’s blind spot. Truck drivers have major blind spots and they do not always check these areas to make sure that there is nothing there.
4) Large trucks are not as easy to control or maneuver as regular automobiles, which can create a problem on narrower roads or roads with just two lanes.
If you or someone you love was seriously injured in a truck accident because of another party’s negligence, contact our North Carolina truck accident lawyers today.
Safety group opposes lifting truck restrictions, WCNC.com, June 24, 2008
State Senate votes to allow bigger trucks, Newsobserver.com, June 18, 2008
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