Safety & Compliance

FHWA Hosts Size and Weight Study Session

May 28, 2013

By Oliver Patton

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The Federal Highway Administration is kicking off the public phase of its two-year study of the truck size and weight issue.

At Department of Transportation headquarters in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday the agency is hosting the first of four planned public listening sessions on size and weight issues.

Nearly 400 individuals are signed up to attend in person on through an online webcast of the event.

The other sessions are scheduled for next fall, winter and spring in preparation for the final report, due to Congress in November 2014.

The study, ordered by Congress in last year’s highway bill, will look at the safety and economic implications of changing the federal limits, including permitting 6-axle, 97,000-pound combinations.

It will compare trucks operating at current size and weight limits to bigger and heavier trucks on the basis of crash rates and other safety risk factors, as well as the costs of effective enforcement, and the impact of the equipment on pavements and bridges. It also will look into the impact on truck-rail competition.

The study is supposed to provide the factual underpinning of what ultimately will be a political decision on whether or not to reform the federal government’s size and weight standards.

The Wednesday session will solicit comments on which truck configurations the study should cover and where they might operate.

Three configurations already are included:

  • today’s standard 5-axle, 53-foot, 80,000-pound combination,
  • a 5-axle, 53-foot, 88,000-pound combination, and
  • a 6-axle, 53-foot, 97,000-pound combination.

Other types up for consideration are twin 33-foot rigs, Rocky Mountain Doubles, Turnpike Doubles and Triples, as well as others the participants might suggest.

Also on the agenda are discussions of the data and analytical methods the agency should use in the study.

FHWA maintains a website that provides details on the progress of the study.


  1. 1. William B. Trescott [ May 29, 2013 @ 08:00AM ]

    Participants will be invited to examine an 18 wheeler after the meeting. The DOT granted special permission to park mine behind the DOT building. Special thanks to Swift Transportation for making the truck available and to Patrick O'hara at Northeastremsco for providing a parking space.

  2. 2. Denny Gumfory [ June 13, 2013 @ 08:32PM ]

    Double and triples should be considered as long as axel weights do not exceed limits. All speeds should be reduced to allow autos to navigate around excessive speed on combinations should incur excessive fines.
    It just makes sense with fuel rates so ridiculous we would have never made it through the depression with transportation costs equivalent to todays rates.


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