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DOT: Not Enough Data to Make Decision on Truck Size/Weight Changes

A U.S. federal study of heavier and larger trucks says greater analysis and fewer data limitations are necessary to gauge impact on the transportation system.

As reported by CCJ magazine, congress received the Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Limits Study that the Federal Highway Administration started in 2012.

“At the conclusion of the Technical Reports, the department believed that the current model and data limitations were so profound that the results could not accurately be extrapolated to confidently predict national impacts,” the agency stated.

Since then, the independent peer review and public feedback the agency received did not alter its conclusion. “Another study effort, with more time and more money, would not at this point yield more reliable result,” FHWA wrote.

For example, states do not list truck weight at the time of a crash and most crash data systems lack precise identification of longer or heavier trucks. Until information limitations are overcome, federal truck size and weight law should remain unchanged, researchers said.

“Despite recent Congressional action approving additional size and weight exceptions and waivers on a piecemeal and nationwide basis, DOT recommends a thoughtful approach to future policy making,” the report read.

The American Trucking Association says twin 33-foot trailers would be more productive and result in decreased emissions and road congestion. Conversely, the Truckload Carriers Association says carriers would be pressured to make the expensive switch to twins.

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