Payne County Sheriff, R. B. Hauf, recently wrote an op-ed in News OK about the dangers of increasing the weight and/or length of commercial trucks. His concern, which he raised as the president of the Oklahoma Sheriffs’ Association and a member of the National Sheriffs Association Traffic Safety Committee, was in response to current lobbying efforts regarding the state of the country’s infrastructure.
In Oklahoma, commercial trucks are part of the lifeblood of the state. They deliver also types of agricultural and business products to companies, markets, and consumers. Commercial trucks area allowed to travel on the following roads and highways:
- Will Rogers Turnpike
- Turner Turnpike
- H.E. Bailey Turnpike
- I-235, I -240, and I-440
- I-244, and I-444
- I-35, I-40, and I-44
Sheriff Hauf raised specific concerns in his op-ed about proposals to raise the permissible weight limit from an 80,000-pound maximum to 91,000-pound maximum and another proposal to “increase the length of ‘shorter’ double-trailer trucks to 91 feet.”
The sheriff is concerned that these proposals will endanger motorists and make the work of law enforcement officials trying to handle truck crashes more difficult. The op-ed said many trucks already have “braking violations.” Increased weight allowances could increase brake violations another 18%.
He specifically mentioned Interstates 34, 40, and 44 as having a lot of truck traffic volume which causes lengthy delays when truck accidents occur.
Sheriff Hauf added that many of the nation’s bridges wouldn’t be able to accommodate these larger trucks, according to the U.S. Department of Transportation. Reinforcements and new bridges could cost taxpayers billions of dollars.
The op-ed was in response to lobbying efforts to expand the weight and length limits which are escalating in response to Congress’s recent refusal to increase these limits. His concern is that trucking companies will be placing profit ahead of public safety and “infrastructure preservation,” despite any good intentions.
Recent truck accident statistics
Large trucks are simply no match for a passenger car, SUV, or motorcycle. The large height, weight, and length of trucks makes visibility much harder and makes truck accidents more deadly than car accidents.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, deaths involving large trucks occurred in Oklahoma have increased the last few years. There were 133 deaths in 2017; 126 fatalities in 2016; and 106 deaths in 2015.
Truck accidents can be fatal. Survivors can suffer catastrophic injuries including traumatic brain injuries, spinal cord damage, and paralysis, and broken bones. When truck accidents occur, you need experienced truck accident lawyers on your side who can quickly inspect the trucks and the scene of the accident.
At Cunningham & Mears, we fight to protect track accident victims, and the families of those who have died in collisions. Our Oklahoma City lawyers work aggressively to speak with witnesses and anyone with information that could help your claim. We work with your doctors. For help now, please call 405.212.9234 or fill out our contact form.