Safety & Compliance

FHWA Launches Specialized Vehicle Weight Study

December 30, 1999

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The Federal Highway Administration has asked for public input on the economic, safety and infrastructure impacts of truck weight standards on specialized hauling vehicles.

SHVs are generally single-unit trucks that have high tare (empty) weights from heavy duty cargo carrying bodies and special equipment for loading and unloading, such as solid waste removal trucks, home fuel oil delivery trucks, construction material dump trucks and cement transit mixers.
These vehicles often require short wheelbases to access and maneuver safety within the facilities they serve. Because of the short wheelbases, however, the maximum legal weight as determined by the federal bridge formula is often below the vehicle’s grow weight limit as determined by individual single and tandem axle limits.
In the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century, Congress directed FHWA to examine the problem and make recommendations by June 9, 2000. The agency has proposed a three-phase study starting with input from “interested” groups regarding vehicle dimensions, costs and operating characteristics such as trip patterns, areas of operation, roadway classes traveled, operating weights and annual mileage. Phase two of the study will analyze economic, safety and infrastructure impacts of current SHV operations. Phase three will identify changes that could improve productivity and safety while minimizing infrastructure impacts.
Comments will be accepted until the study is completed but, to receive full consideration, they should be submitted by February 28, 2000. The request for comments along with specific questions was published December 30, 1999 in the Federal Register, which can be found on the Internet at www.access.gpo.gov.

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