Uniform road laws related to capacity and infrastructure would reduce congestion and make the roads safer for interstate truckers and other motorists nationwide. Differing rules and roadway restrictions between neighboring states, which are often influenced by states’ ability to handle heavy or oversized loads, often create delays, congested roads, frustration, and other conditions that increase the risk for trucking accidents.
Uniform Road Laws Benefit Interstate Trucking
Trucking industry experts recommend the harmonization of interstate trucking laws for safer roads. They suggest that uniform road laws related to weight limits and infrastructure would greatly benefit the interstate trucking industry. Truck weight standards and truck size are regulated by Federal and State laws. Federal law governs maximum vehicle weights and axle loads on the U.S. Interstate System. The federal weight limit for trucks is 80,000 pounds, but states can increase or decrease that limit on state roadways and highways.
Currently, states establish safe weight limits for their roadways that are not part of the Interstate System. Regulations related to maximum capacity often differ between neighboring states. Truckers who have to cross several state lines to deliver goods can spend extensive time at weigh stops and delays at state lines. According to the president of Doosan Bobcat and Oceania who generally uses flatbeds for hauling, drivers often have to dismantle double flatbeds into single flatbeds when crossing state lines.
Many U.S. interstates and roadways are in dire need of repair, but infrastructure funding is a challenge for federal and state agencies. The Trump administration and the Department of Transportation are looking at ways to increase infrastructure funding. Two options considered are a fuel tax and a vehicle-miles-traveled fee. The current federal tax on diesel fuel of 24.4 cents a gallon, and on gasoline of 18.4 cents a gallon has not been raised since 1993. Replacing the current gas tax with a mileage-based tax would help to stabilize the Highway Trust Fund.
In February, the White House unveiled a $200 billion infrastructure proposal which could lead to $1.5 trillion in investments over 10 years. White House officials did not specify the source of federal funding, stating that non-federal funds would drive most of the plan’s investments. The infrastructure plan would benefit the trucking industry by creating safer interstates and roadways and fewer trucking accidents for American truckers who make a living delivering goods throughout the country.