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


About the author
David Cullen

David Cullen

[Former] Business/Washington Contributing Editor

David Cullen comments on the positive and negative factors impacting trucking – from the latest government regulations and policy initiatives coming out of Washington DC to the array of business and societal pressures that also determine what truck-fleet managers must do to ensure their operations keep on driving ahead.

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