Crawdaddy: Wicker-Feinstein amendment would require safety study of longer trucks

A move that could force bigger big rigs on Mississippi highways hit a roadblock in the Senate today.

Sens. Roger Wicker, R-Miss., and Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., introduced an amendment to the Drive Act, the highway funding bill, to require the Department of Transportation to complete a comprehensive safety study before longer trucks are permitted on highways, according to a release from Wicker's office.

The amendment would also require the agency to conduct a formal rulemaking process with public notice and comment period.

“I believe states are in the best position to make safety decisions about truck size,” Wicker said in the release. “Nearly 40 states, including Mississippi, prohibit twin 33-foot trucks from operating within their jurisdictions. Initial estimates show that longer, heavier trucks could cost an additional $1.2 billion to $1.8 billion in taxpayer funding to repair highways, not to mention $1.1 billion more for bridge repair and reinforcement. Many Americans agree that Congress should not force states to comply with a top-down mandate.” 

Those opposed to twin 33-foot trailers include Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, AAA, the Teamsters Union, several state trucking associations, the National Troopers Coalition, and other law enforcement associations throughout the country.