FRESH Act is rotten for small-business truckers, OOIDA says

May 2020

Greg Grisolano

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The Freight Restriction Elimination for Safer Hauling (FRESH) Act would hurt small trucking companies while making highways more dangerous, OOIDA told lawmakers in a letter sent on Feb. 26.

OOIDA sent the letter regarding HR5773 to the sponsors of the bill, Reps. Rob Woodall, R-Ga., and Sanford Bishop, D-Ga. The bill would allow states to waive interstate gross vehicle weight limits for trucks that are hauling a perishable product, obeying state weight limits, and are equipped with a speed limiter set to the lesser of 65 mph or the posted limit.

“This legislation would increase truck gross vehicle weight standards on the interstate for only select industries, thereby accelerating the deterioration of highway infrastructure and negatively impacting small trucking businesses,” OOIDA wrote in a letter signed by President and CEO Todd Spencer. “Even more problematic, we believe the technical requirements of this legislation are not compatible with the actual operation of speed-limiting devices.”

Proponents of the bill say it would end the weight limits on federal highways that force large trucks onto two-lane highways.

“Current law encourages the diversion of large trucks onto neighborhood roads, causing substantial damage and creating unnecessary risk,” Rep. Bishop said in a news release. “This bill will fix this problem and put large trucks back on the highway. It will increase the safety of our roads and help ensure perishable goods get where they are needed.”

Tough on small motor carriers

OOIDA said the legislation will actually decrease safety and is especially problematic for small trucking companies.

“Permitting trucks to operate at higher gross vehicle weight would also have immediate economic implications for hundreds of thousands of small trucking businesses, who would be forced to increase their hauling capacity to stay competitive,” OOIDA wrote. “Unlike large carriers, who could transition their fleets over time while maintaining business, smaller trucking companies and owner-operators would be compelled to immediately modify their equipment at a great cost just to remain viable.”

The Association added that previous weight increases have demonstrated that heavier trucks don’t lead to larger paychecks for truck drivers. LL

Greg Grisolano

Greg Grisolano joined Land Line in 2013. He was formerly a reporter for the Joplin Globe. He brings business writing and photography skills to Land Line, and has a passion for finding and telling stories about the people who make up the trucking industry.