OOIDA speaks out against twin 33 proposals

May 16, 2018

Mark Schremmer


The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association sent letters to the leaders of the House Appropriations subcommittee on Transportation, Housing and Urban Development in opposition of proposals to increase the size and weight of commercial motor vehicles.

Americans for Modern Transportation, which is a coalition of groups that include FedEx, Amazon and UPS, have been strong proponents of an effort to allow twin 33-foot trailers to operate on the nation’s highways.

Many groups, including OOIDA, have opposed the efforts. The Association sent a letter on Tuesday, May 15, to Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) subcommittee chairman Mario Diaz-Balart, R-Fla., and ranking member David Price, D-N.C.

“Increasing the size and weight of commercial motor vehicles would reduce margins of safety and adversely impact small trucking businesses, which constitute a large and critical segment of the American trucking industry,” OOIDA President Todd Spencer wrote. “As you draft the fiscal year 2019 Transportation, Housing and Urban Development Appropriations Act, we encourage you to reject any provisions that would increase the maximum size and weight of commercial motor vehicles, including dangerous and preferential proposals to increase the length of double tractor-trailers to 33 feet.”

In addition to decreasing safety, OOIDA said allowing the twin 33 combination trailers would benefit only a few large corporate motor carriers while having a negative impact on the rest of the trucking industry.

“Including language to permit the use of twin 33s in the FY19 THUD bill would also open the door for numerous other efforts to increase commercial motor vehicle size and weight, all of which are disproportionately harmful to small trucking businesses,” Spencer wrote. “Rather than addressing an issue that favors only a select few by what is effectively a corporate earmark, Congress should instead focus on policies that improve conditions for trucking operations of all sizes.”

OOIDA cited an increase in crash rates when the gross vehicle weight of commercial trucks is increased.

“The U.S. Department of Transportation’s 2015 Comprehensive Truck Size and Weight Limits Study revealed crash involvement rates for vehicles configured with a sixth axle to carry 91,000 pounds were consistently higher than the rate for five-axle control trucks,” OOIDA wrote.

The Association said the impact would be immediate.

“Permitting trucks to operate at higher gross vehicle weight would have immediate economic implications for hundreds of thousands of small trucking businesses, who would be pressured to increase their hauling capacity just to stay competitive. Unlike large carriers, who could transition their fleets over time while maintaining business, smaller truck companies and owner-operators would be forced to immediately modify their equipment at great cost just to remain viable. Unfortunately, weight increases have demonstrated heavier trucks don’t lead to higher paychecks for professional drivers as some proponents have inaccurately claimed.”

In addition to OOIDA, numerous safety groups, including Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, have spoken in opposition of twin 33s and increased weight limits.

Americans for Modern Transportation says allowing twin 33s would reduce congestion on the roads, improve safety for travelers, and create lower costs for consumers and businesses.