Nebraska Teamsters headed to Washington DC last week to convince lawmakers to oppose a bill that would allow semi trucks to haul even heavier loads.
The bill would allow tractor trailers to weigh up to 91,000 pounds instead of 80,000, and the potential increase has some drivers concerned and skeptical.
“The heavier the truck, the more dangerous it is when it would be involved in a collision,” said Local Teamsters Union President and former Truck Driver Kim Quick to ABC 7. “It’s an anti-safety bill in sheep’s clothing is what it is,” he continued.
“We can’t stop on a dime. So I ain’t going to haul no 90-something thousand,” said trucker John Moore. “Somebody pull out in front of them, they ain’t going to be able to stop. Ninety-thousand pounds, you gone kill somebody.”
Douglas County Sheriff Aaron Hanson visited DC with the teamsters on behalf of the National Sheriff’s Association.
“We don’t want this bill to pass. We support the trucking industry. They’re a vital part of our economy but we don’t want Congress to allow big trucks to get even bigger,” he said. “That’s going to result in more traffic fatalities and more traffic injuries.”
Not to mention the road modifications that would be required to accommodate more weight, Hanson said.
“It would cost tens of millions, maybe hundreds of millions to fortify our local bridges to be able to satisfy the weight requirements for making big trucks even bigger and heavier,” he said.
Quick believes that the proposal is all about making money for the large trucking companies, and doesn’t take into account the safety of the public or the truck drivers.
“Profits over people is what it is,” he said. “It doesn’t do anything to improve the safety for the public; it only increases the opportunity for them carry more weight which is increased profits to large companies.”
“More money, that’s all that is, it’s the corporations,” Moore agreed.
Nebraska congressman Don Bacon says that the issue is not yet scheduled for a vote and that he has not made a decision about his stance on the issue yet.