Drivers opposed to bigger trucks, study says

Drivers opposed to bigger trucks, study says
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Most drivers are opposed to the federal government allowing bigger trucks on the road, according to a new survey.

The Coalition Against Bigger Trucks, which includes a number of traffic safety advocates and law enforcement organizations, reports that three out of four Americans do not want to drive alongside longer and heavier semi-trucks on the highway.

“Bigger trucks mean more severe crashes and more lives lost,” said Mat Hodapp, a Minnesota state trooper who is a member of the Coalition Against Bigger Trucks.

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The study comes after trucking companies previously lobbied for bigger trucks.

In 2012, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) wrote a letter to Congress urging lawmakers to support the American Energy and Infrastructure Jobs Act of 2012. This bill contained a provision allowing so-called "longer combination vehicles," which would include triple-trailer trucks.

"I am writing to urge you to support the truck size and weight provisions in the bill," ATA President Bill Graves wrote at the time.

However, ATA at the moment is more focused on lobbying for double-trailer trucks to be expanded by 10 feet.

"ATA has no plans to press Congress for other increases in length and certainly is not pressing lawmakers to expand access for triple trailers, nor are we currently working to increase weight limits," ATA spokesman Sean McNally told The Hill.

But the survey found that 76 percent of Americans are opposed to such increases in truck size. In fact, 57 percent of people say they would be “less likely” to vote for a member of Congress who supports such legislation.

Law enforcement organizations are even more opposed to bigger trucks.

The coalition pointed to another 2013 study that found 95 percent of law enforcement officers believe bigger trucks would make the roads more dangerous.

“I can tell you that law enforcement officers have known for quite some time that bigger trucks threaten highway safety, and this poll shows that the public knows it, too,” said Hodapp, who is also the chairman of the National Troopers Coalition. 

This story was updated at 2:04 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 23, 2015.