Trucking Execs Urge Senators to Turn Down ‘Twin 33’ Trailers

June 16, 2015

By David Cullen

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The top executives of 15 major for-hire carriers are pushing back against a drive on Capitol Hill to legalize the operation of twin 33-ft trailers on highways nationwide.

In a succinct letter addressed to Chairman Thad Cochran (R-MS) and Vice Chairman Barbara Mikulski (D-MD) of the Senate Committee on Appropriations, the heads of 13 truckload and 2 LTL carriers urge committee members to oppose an amendment to the next transportation funding bill that “would force states to accept double 33’ [vs. the current 28’] trailers on all U.S. highways” because it is fraught with “unintended consequences.”

The signatories argue that permitting the longer sets of doubles “would have a negative impact on highway safety, accelerate wear and tear on the nation’s highway system, and make it very difficult for small trucking companies, which are the heart of our industry, to compete.”

Image: FHWA
Image: FHWA
Noting that trucking itself is “deeply divided on this issue,” they contend that the amendment has not yet been sufficiently discussed on Capitol Hill. Nonetheless, an identical measure has made it through the House unscathed. But President Obama has already threatened to veto the funding package if it makes it to his desk in the same form that it took in the House. 

To help make their case against twin 33s, the writers also point out that the comprehensive size/weight study recently put out by the Dept. of Transportation “concluded that no changes in the relevant truck size and weight laws should be considered at this time.” 

The authors close by advsing the Senators that they “would be happy to personally visit with you and your colleagues further, on the reasons why this amendment should not be adopted.”

The signatories of the letter are:

  • Paul Will, CEO, Celadon Trucking, Indianapolis, IN
  • Don Orr, president, Central Transport, Waco, TX
  • David Parker, president & CEO, Covenant Transport, Chattanooga, TN
  • Tonn Ostergard, president & CEO, Crete Carrier Corp., Lincoln, NB
  • Reggie Dupre, CEO, Dupre Logistics, Lafayette, LA
  • Steve Gordon, president, Gordon Trucking, Pacific, WA
  • Mike Gerdin, chairman & CEO, Heartland Express, North Liberty, IA
  • John N. Roberts, president & CEO, JB Hunt Transport, Lowell, AR
  • Jim Richards, president & CEO, KLLM Transport, Jackson, MS
  • Kevin Knight, chairman, Knight Transportation, Phoenix, AZ
  • Charles Hammel, president, Pitt Ohio, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Dan Cushman, president & CEO, PAM Transport, Tontitown, AR
  • David Daniels, president & CEO, May Trucking Co., Salem, OR
  • Jerry Moyes, founder & CEO, Swift Transportation, Phoenix, AZ
  • Robert A. Peiser, chairman, USA Truck, Van Buren, AR



  1. 1. Keith [ June 17, 2015 @ 05:06AM ]

    What are all of these CEOs afraid of? Are most of the CEOs who sent this letter TL carriers?

  2. 2. Jack [ June 17, 2015 @ 06:01AM ]

    One has to ask why this list is almost all TL operators that don't use pups....sounds like they are trying to protect their turf, not help efficiency, the economy & environment.

  3. 3. Keith [ June 17, 2015 @ 06:57AM ]

    I agree with you Jack. The volume and capacity of twin 33' trailers make the large TL carriers nervous. I hope to see the change to 33' pups. We could use the extra capacity in the private fleet world.

  4. 4. Big Yellower [ June 17, 2015 @ 07:08AM ]

    I would agree too they don't want to loose their edge against smaller faster carriers . Irronically out west been running double 32', 30' for over 30 yrs. Plus 35'-28', just got added to WA. Anyways most cities are pushing to outlaw 53' due to many accidents, and just being to big for the area. Exception would be big box stores.

  5. 5. McGruff [ June 17, 2015 @ 08:05AM ]

    It's about time somebody stood up to the ATA and reminded them that they aren't "The Only Voice" of all American trucking companies! It has become apparent to this writer that the ATA thinks they can dictate to congress what congress should do. I still don't understand why the ATA wants to mandate speed limiters. Several of the largest carriers (who are members of the ATA) have their trucks set up currently to run 70 MPH or higher on the highways. If they throttle back their trucks to 65 MPH, it stands to reason this could theoretically create chaos with their logistics nationally and possibly even world wide.

  6. 6. Richard Pingel [ June 17, 2015 @ 08:38AM ]

    This is a measure that will only help the carriers who have the monopoly in package shipping. They are able to raise the rates at will, and obviously, the more packages in the trailer, the bigger profit. The shippers who see this as a decrease in their transportation cost are dillusionsal.

  7. 7. Delivery Special [ June 17, 2015 @ 10:10AM ]

    Looking at it from the opposite perspective, the emerging preference in a lot of local delivery operations is toward a tandem-axle 33' trailer with a lift gate and electric pallet jack on board. Double 33's would enable relaying as a more cost-effective alternative to cross-docking.

    Sure this may lead to an eventual phase out of 28's, but more likely at an evolutionary pace than a revolutionary one.

  8. 8. Big Ol Boy [ June 19, 2015 @ 07:38AM ]

    Just follow the money. Wonder how much those senators are getting for their vote. 28', 30, 33, makes a huge difference in cities than 53' trailers. Let's see where this will shake out now. These guys must be protecting their "turf".

  9. 9. Cliff [ September 18, 2015 @ 07:07AM ]

    As I look at the names signing the letter against double 33 foot trailers I see one thing, they are all truck load carriers. They are afraid of competition They should go to doubles and increase their productivity.
    I am a driver for 56 years and believe 53 toot trailers are too damn big anyway.


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