Are Heavier Trucks Good for the Industry?
Trucking is split on many issues. ELDs, hair-follicle testing, and plenty of other topics cause drivers to divide. One issue is causing a similar phenomenon, and the winners of the debate could change the industry forever.
Larger trucks are both a blessing and a curse. Heavy commercial vehicles may present more of a danger on the highways, but they can also haul more freight. For carriers, this can mean fewer trips and less costs. Though there are concerns about the safety of heavy trucks, these vehicles clearly have a place in the industry.
Some are calling for heavier trucks to become more widespread in trucking, with many administrators and economic experts claiming it could have both positive and negative effects. Many shippers are already sold on the idea of using heavier trucks for one reason – larger profits.
Shippers of perishable goods and other similar items tend to view heavier trucks as the perfect tool for getting more of their products out to the masses. Not everyone feels the same way. Some of the most noteworthy opposition to this push comes from industry insiders. While one of the main concerns about heavy trucks is that they pose dangers, these dangers aren’t always to other drivers.
Infrastructure in the US is in bad condition, with the ASCE rating it as barely above failing on their last assessment. Heavier trucks can further damage the roads and bridges, leading many carriers to hold off when possible.
Special permits and grandfather rules have allowed some truck drivers to exceed the 80,000-pound weight limit. Advocates of more heavy trucks and larger weight-limits have suggested raising the cap to 91,000.
Many of the suggestions about large trucks and weight limits have also come from the other side of the debate. The last presidential administration put forth efforts to reduce the maximum speed of heavier trucks, a measure that (once again) left the industry divided.
Heavier trucks are certainly an asset in some ways. Bigger isn’t always better, but there is a demand for larger commercial vehicles on the road. Depending on regulatory measures and the state of infrastructure, heavier trucks could become more prominent in the future.