June 22, 2015
The Honorable Thad Cochran
113 Dirksen Senate Office Building
Washington, DC 20510-2402
Dear Senator Cochran,
Early this month the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations bill that including a proposal to increase the length of twin trailers by five feet, with no changes to the federal weight standards. 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. As companies and organizations that partner with members of the Coalition for Efficient & Responsible Trucking (CERT), we urge you to continue this leadership and support a modest increase of five feet for twin trailers: from 28- to 33-feet.
Less than truckload (LTL) carriers serve more than 9.4 million customers daily in every state in the nation, from big name retailers and manufacturers to family-owned businesses. If a product is shipped as freight in America, it is likely that the LTL carriers were involved.
Under current regulations, twin 28-foot trailers routinely fill all their available volume long before the 80,000 pound gross weight limit is reached. This inefficiency saddles American businesses with $27 billion per year in avoidable costs. Congressional approval for twin 33-foot trailers would provide a much needed boost to productivity. Savings from this reform would impact everyone in the supply chain straight through to the consumer.
Academic studies have found that, because they have a longer wheelbase, 33-foot double trailer configurations are inherently more stable than today’s twin 28-foot trailers. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation twin 33′ trailers actually have a tighter turning radius than a single 53′ trailer configuration, the most common tractor-semitrailer operating throughout the country. In addition, twin 33s have been tested under a variety of conditions in Canada and select markets within the United States without adverse safety outcomes.
Furthermore, modernizing freight transportation to allow twin 33s will result in 6.6 million fewer truck trips per year – that is a 1.3 billion-mile reduction in truck traffic. The reduction in traffic will economize 204 million gallons of fuel annually and reduce carbon emissions by 4.4 billion pounds per year. The reduced congestion would prevent 912 crashes.
The facts demonstrate significant safety benefits as well as dramatic productivity and environmental advantages. Thank you for your consideration and please contact CERT if you would like to discuss this issue further.