Mississippi transportation officials say a bill allowing heavier trucks on the road is dangerous for motorists.

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Miss. Transportation Officials Oppose Heavier Trucks on Highways

By Daniel Cherry | Published 17 Nov 2011 07:24pm | comments

Mississippi transportation officials say raising the maximum weight of trucks on highways is dangerous for motorists and infrastructure. MPB's Daniel Cherry reports how officials are asking Congress to keep heavier trucks off the road.

Legislation facing Congress would allow trucks as heavy as 100 thousand pounds on the road...20 percent heavier than the current maximum weight of 80 thousand pounds. Driver, Brandon Bearden says he doesn't want to get behind the wheel of a heavier rig.

"I think it's a bad idea. They can't keep up with the roads now, and the freight rate isn't good enough to be hauling 100,000 pounds. Eighty is too much for what they pay now."

Mississippi transportation officials say the impact on infrastructure would be massive. Dick Hall, Mississippi Transportation Commissioner, says they've made huge strides in improving the quality of highways, and he thinks this would set the state back.

"Some other states are fortunate in their highway construction, they don't have to deal with Yazoo clay and some of the other things that we have to deal with. Perhaps they can withstand that kind of load. We can't."

In 2010 there were 40 fatalities and more than 1000 injuries across Mississippi involving large trucks. Lieutenant Don McCain is with the State Highway Patrol. He says the heavier 3 trailer trucks would be a huge safety concern.

"Two trailers go down the road, wavering, and they do. You put a third one behind that and you're going to see that increase. Just trying to maneuver traffic, if they've got to change lanes, you're talking about the length of a 10 story building laying down sideways. That's a lot to handle on the highway."

The U.S. Chamber of Commerce and the American Trucking Association are pushing the legislation. They say say trucks can haul more weight safely, lowering shipping costs and cutting the number of trucks on the road. The Mississippi Trucking Association opposes the bill.

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