Load ‘em up, says TRB

The allowable weight limit for tractor-trailers would jump 12.5%-- with one more axle added—if a recommendation by the Transportation Research Board (TRB) is acted upon, according to the Truck Renting & Leasing Assn. (TRALA), which has reviewed the report.

TRALA said the TRB report recommends that tractor-trailer weight limits increase by 12.5% from 80,000 to 90,000 lbs. with the addition of an extra axle on the trailer to distribute the greater weight.

The report also says states should be allowed to issue permits for double-trailer configurations with each trailer measuring up to 33-ft. long (instead of the current doubles limit of 28 ft.) and having seven, eight or nine axles.

The report additionally recommends forming a new “Commercial Traffic Effects Institute,” which would be an independent body governed by a board of directors charged with making recommendations to Congress and the Dept. of Transportation (DOT) on reducing the public costs of commercial highway transport.

What’s more, TRB recommends that Congress authorize DOT, working with the aforementioned Institute, to approve pilot studies of temporary exemptions from current size and weight regs.

The report will be sent to Congress and DOT but as TRALA noted, there is “no timeline for any action” on it.> TRB, an arm of the nonprofit National Research Council, was requested by Congress back in 1998 to study weight limits as part of the Transportation Equity Act for the 21st Century (TEA-21).

To read the report, go to www.nationalacademies.org/trb/ and click on “Special Report 267”. Or contact TRALA at www.trala.org for more information.

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