Petri Bill Alert – take Action

1000 Friends of Wisconsin, along with John Muir Chapter of the Sierra Club, Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters, law enforcement, the Truck Safety Coalition, the Trauma Foundation, and people who have lost loved ones in overly heavy truck crashes OPPOSE HR 2353, a bill that will allow overweight trucks on Wisconsin’s Interstate System. Contact your U.S. Senator and Representatives today.

  • MAP-21, passed with strong bi-partisan support, included a comprehensive two-year truck size and weight study to provide data on crash frequency and the impact of large trucks on safety and infrastructure. No piecemeal truck size and weight exemptions should be considered while the Congressionally-mandated study is underway at the U.S. Department of Transportation.
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  • Every year on average, approximately 4,000 people are killed and 100,000 are injured in large truck crashes. Between 2006 and 2011, there were 406 fatalities in crashes involving large trucks in Wisconsin. The following crashes occurred recently on I-41 in Wisconsin. We urge action to improve, and not further endanger, those traveling on I-41

    • On March 6, 2013, a car was merging into the center lane on U.S. Highway 41, when a tractor-trailer attempted to merge into the same lane and struck the car on the rear bumper causing the car to roll over several times, ejecting and seriously injuring the driver.

    • On January 20, 2013, a tractor-trailer traveling southbound on U.S. Highway 41 attempted to change lanes and struck a car sending it onto its side and critically injuring the car’s driver.

    • On October 19, 2012, a tractor-trailer traveling northbound on U.S. Highway 41 was attempting to change lanes when the semitrailer’s wheels struck a car in the left lane seriously injuring the driver and his passenger.

If these were airline deaths or injuries, Congress would never consider giving an anti-safety exemption to a member of the airline industry.

  • If this bill is passed, it will set a dangerous precedent, opening the door for others to request exemptions in their home states and pressuring neighboring states such as Illinois to increase weights — leading to the Interstate system being carved up piecemeal and defeating the reason behind having an Interstate system.
  • Research and experience show that allowing bigger, heavier trucks will not result in fewer trucks. Since 1982, when Congress last increased the GVW limit, truck registrations have increased 84%. Increases in truck size and weights over more than 35 years have never resulted in fewer, heavier trucks on the roads.
  • The Maine and Vermont pilot program proved that allowing overly heavy trucks on the Interstate neither takes the trucks off the local roads nor reduces the number of trucks on the roads.

    •  Quotes from the reports on the ME/VT studies:

      •  From the Vermont Pilot Program Final Report:

        •  “On Vermont’s non-Interstate highways, where significant safety gains were expected with the shift of trucks to Interstates, the number of crashes increased by 24 percent.”

        •  “…injury-related truck crashes rose…on Vermont’s non-Interstate highways, an increase of 28 percent.”

      •  From the Maine 6-Month Report:

        •  “It is interesting to note that the percentage of trucks in that weight category [more than 80,000 lbs. but less than 120,000 lbs.] has not declined on the I-95 Turnpike following the pilot program implementation. …Truck classification sites count the number of trucks passing…for Sidney and Vassalboro, Maine. These two locations are roughly parallel. The figure shows…a much larger increase in the number of six-axle tractor semitrailers on the Interstate.”

  • If I-41 becomes an Interstate, Wisconsin will be eligible to receive a greater amount of federal funding for it – from 80% federal/ 20% state to 90% federal/ 10% state. All U.S. taxpayers will now be forced to pay even more for the damage caused by heavier trucks on I-41.
  • The annual cost to society from crashes involving CMVs is estimated to be over $83 billion. (FMCSA March 2013)
  • According to ASCE, 71% of Wisconsin’s roads are in poor or mediocre condition, and 14% of its bridges are structurally deficient or functionally obsolete.
  • Driving on roads in need of repair costs Wisconsin motorists $1.1 billion a year in extra vehicle repairs and operating costs. (ASCE 2013)
  • Increasing the weight of a heavy truck by only 10% increases bridge damage by 33%. (Natl. Cooperative Hwy. Research Program 2003)
  • Heavy trucks account for 17% of our nation’s transportation energy use. (US DOE 2012)
  • Trucks with heavier gross weights require larger engines that decrease fuel economy on a miles-per-gallon basis. (Western Uniformity Scenario Analysis 2004)

The American public does not want more, heavier trucks on our roads. Public opinion polls consistently and convincingly show large majorities – 68% and more – oppose allowing heavier trucks on our roads and 88% oppose increasing gas taxes to pay for the additional damage to roads and bridges that would be caused by heavier trucks.
We urge you to oppose HR 2353 and protect all those traveling in Wisconsin. Contact your U.S. Senator and Representatives today.