June 22, 2015
The Honorable Thad Cochran
United States Senate
113 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20510-2402
Dear Senator Cochran:
Together our companies employ more than 6,000 Mississippians at 40 locations across the state serving tens of thousands of Mississippi customers on a daily basis. As members of the Coalition for Efficient and Responsible Trucking (CERT), we write to urge your support for a modest extension of twin trailers by five feet – from 28’ to 33’ – and the positive effects it would create for the driving public as well as the less than truckload (LTL) market. We seek no changes to federal weight limits and are encouraged by the support for this proposal up and down our supply chain in Mississippi.
Earlier this month, the U.S. House passed legislation including a proposal to increase the length of twin trailers by five feet. It passed with bipartisan support at the committee level and on the floor. There were no amendments or debate on the floor against the proposal.
We expect that your committee may consider the same proposal. Please consider the following points with regard to safety benefits, productivity improvements and dramatic environmental gains that result from twin 33s:
- Modernizing freight transportation regulations to allow for 33-ft. doubles means 6.6 million fewer truck trips per year and according to Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration data it would prevent at least 912 highway accidents every year. The 6.6 million fewer truck trips per year means a 1.3 billion-mile reduction in truck traffic. The reduction in traffic will economize 204 million gallons of fuel annually, and it will reduce carbon emissions by 4.4 billion pounds per year.
- According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, twin 33 trailers have a tighter turning radius than a single 53’ trailer configuration, the most common tractor—semitrailer operating throughout the United States; thus, making them easier to maneuver.
- A modest extension of five feet per trailer would increase the cubic capacity by 18 percent. This would eliminate the need for every ninth truck in the LTL industry, thus creating more space on our highways.
- The use of twin 33’ trailers would produce savings. The longer wheelbase – with no change in weight – decreases the stress on bridges and increased productivity reduces the number of trucks that are sent out onto the roadways. Both effects improve the longevity of our infrastructure.
We are aware of a misinformation campaign that has distorted plain facts about twin 33s beyond all recognition. We are eager to clear up these false claims and are available to you, your colleagues and your staff at any time to answer questions.
We encourage you to support including language allowing twin 33’s in the Senate mark-up of the THUD Appropriations Bill.