Trucking Industry Pushes to Use Dangerous “Twin 33” Trucks
Trucking industry lobbyists continue to push for nationwide legalization of massive, super-long combination trucks despite significant data showing that they’re unsafe and would create a negative impact on highway safety.
The enormous vehicles, which are sometimes called “twin 33s” or “double 33s” because they are made up of two extra-long 33-foot trailers, are longer than an eight-story building is tall. Trucking industry lobbyists argue that the larger trucks would increase productivity and efficiency and won’t require major changes to infrastructure.
Highway safety experts who have studied the trucks, though, have frequently concluded otherwise. Recently, in August 2017, the Mississippi Transportation Commission sent a letter to one of Mississippi’s U.S. representatives asking them not to vote for legislation that would authorize the use of twin 33s nationwide.
“The limited data available showed that heavier trucks have higher crash rates and that longer trucks take 22 feet longer to stop, causing considerable bridge damage,” the commission wrote in the letter, which was addressed to Rep. Steven Palazzo (R-Miss.).
Even Some Trucking Companies Remain Skeptical of Dangerous Twin 33s
Currently, combination trucks are limited to 28 feet in length per trailer except on certain designated routes. While an additional five feet per trailer may not sound like a major change, it adds more than a full passenger car length to already-massive trucks. And the trucking industry can’t even keep its existing trucks from creating more and more deadly truck crashes; as we’ve reported before on this blog, the number of annual deaths from trucking accidents increased by 22 percent between 2009 and 2015.
In 2015, the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) also examined the safety of combination trucks as part of a larger report on size and weight limits for the trucking industry. The DOT report concluded there wasn’t enough data to show that twin 33 trailers are safe. They recommended against changing the existing size and weight limits for commercial trucks.
Twin 33s remain controversial even within the trucking industry. In 2015, the heads of 15 major for-hire trucking companies signed a joint letter to the U.S. Senate Committee on Appropriations regarding extra-long combination trucks. In the letter, they urged the committee to oppose a transportation funding bill amendment that would have forced states to accept twin 33s on all U.S. highways.
Nationwide legalization of twin 33s “would have a negative impact on highway safety, accelerate wear and tear on the nation’s highway system, and make it very difficult for small trucking companies, which are the heart of our industry, to compete,” the letter said.
In the end, House Republicans pulled the amendment from the final bill, and since then, Congress hasn’t taken up any legislation involving twin 33s.
New Lobbying Group Leads Push for Larger Trucks
In 2017, however, a group of shippers and retail companies that includes FedEx, Amazon, and UPS formed a lobbying group called “Americans for Modern Transportation” to begin promoting twin 33s again. In February 2017, FedEx Chairman Fred Smith testified before Congress to argue in favor of legalizing twin 33s nationwide.
Clearly, the battle over twin 33s isn’t over, especially in a political environment that has proven favorable for trucking companies who want to defeat important safety regulations in the name of short-term profits. For now, it’s up to highway safety advocates to keep making the case against regulatory rollbacks that would put ordinary drivers in danger.
Injured in a Trucking Accident? Contact Truck Wreck Justice Attorney Morgan Adams for Help
If you or your someone you know has been injured or lost a loved one a crash involving a combination truck or any other type of large truck or bus, Truck Wreck Justice Attorney Morgan Adams is here to help. With years of experience and a sole focus on large vehicle cases, Morgan Adams has the resources to protect your rights and represent you through the complex process of a trucking accident lawsuit.
Please contact Truck Wreck Justice at (866) 580-4878 or fill out our online contact form if you need help. We offer free initial consultations to assess your situation and discuss your legal options, and we handle cases on a contingent fee basis, which means that you won’t pay attorney’s fees unless we’re able to get you a settlement or win your case in court.
Cullen, D. (2015, June 16). Trucking execs urge senators to turn down ‘twin 33’ trailers. Trucking Info. Retrieved from http://www.truckinginfo.com/channel/fleet-management/news/story/2015/06/trucking-execs-urge-senators-to-turn-down-twin-33-trailers.aspx
Mulero, E. (2017, August 30). Mississippi Transportation Commission opposes longer combination trucks. Transport Topics. Retrieved from http://www.ttnews.com/articles/mississippi-transportation-commission-opposes-longer-combination-trucks
Schulz, J. (2017, February 20). FedEx’s Smith again leads push for twin 33s, truckload carriers again push back. Logistics Management. Retrieved from http://www.logisticsmgmt.com/article/fedexs_smith_again_leads_push_for_twin_33s_truckload_carriers_again_push_ba
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