Wicker: Put the Brakes on Bigger Trucks
Warren County Police Chief Joins Miss. Senator in Opposing ‘Twin 33s’
WASHINGTON – At a news conference outside the U.S. Capitol today, U.S. Senators Roger Wicker, R-Miss., Dianne Feinstein, D-Calif., and Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., outlined their bipartisan opposition to a federal mandate that would allow large trucks to pull double 33-foot trailers on the nation’s highways. The senators were joined by representatives from the trucking industry, Teamsters, law enforcement, and a safety advocacy group. Among those who spoke today was Vicksburg Police Chief Walter Armstrong.
“We stand united in our efforts to oppose a federal mandate forcing long twin-33 trucks on our nation’s highways,” Wicker said. “Thirty-eight states, including Mississippi, have considered this issue and have chosen not to allow these trucks on their roads. Why should Washington, D.C., tell these states that we know better about safety decisions than they do at the local level? I will continue to fight to ensure that every Senator has the opportunity to vote up or down on this issue before it is allowed to proceed.”
“As Police Chief and as a retired Mississippi State Trooper, I am sworn to protect and serve the public,” Chief Armstrong said. “My fellow law enforcement officers and I strongly oppose bigger tractor-trailers, like the extra-long double-trailer truck you see here today. These extra-long rigs would pose a dangerous situation for motorists across the country. In my years of patrolling Mississippi highways, I have responded to more than 50 crashes involving big rigs. Trucks with longer double trailers would make our roads more dangerous – it’s as simple as that.”
Other participants in today’s press conference included Jackie Gillan of the Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, James Hoffa of the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, and Dave Heller from the Truckload Carriers Association.
Earlier this year, the Senate Appropriations Committee approved an amendment to the transportation funding bill requiring states to allow trucks with two 33-foot trailers on their highways. A tractor-trailer with two 33-foot trailers measures approximately 91 feet in total length. Current federal law permits double 28-foot trailers.
When the committee considered the measure, the Department of Transportation (DOT) advised that there is currently not enough data to draw firm conclusions on the safety implications of double 33-foot trailers. DOT recommended that no changes to truck size be considered at this time.
Those opposed to twin 33-foot trailers include Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the American Automobile Association (AAA), the Teamsters Union, several state trucking associations, the National Troopers Coalition, and other law enforcement associations throughout the country.