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Sheriff: Say no to bigger trucks on Oklahoma roads (OPINION)

Sheriff: Say no to bigger trucks on Oklahoma roads (OPINION)

Published: Sat, December 1, 2018 12:00 AM

I have spent the majority of my career in law enforcement, including more than a decade as sheriff of Payne County. Protecting and serving the people of my county and state is my top priority, and that is why I am extremely concerned about some of the proposals on Capitol Hill that would undermine my ability to do my job.

I serve on the National Sheriffs Association Traffic Safety Committee and am the president of the Oklahoma Sheriffs' Association — both oppose any increases in weight or length of commercial trucks, and for good reason. Recent proposals to increase commercial truck weights and length have failed in Congress, but the looming infrastructure debate will allow proponents another opportunity. One special-interest group is pushing to increase the weight of trucks from the current 80,000-pound maximum limit to 91,000 pounds, while another group is pushing to increase the length of “shorter” double-trailer trucks to 91 feet. These are misguided proposals that would put motorists at risk, as well as our law enforcement officers as they work crashes on the side of the road. Heavier and longer trucks mean higher safety risks for Oklahoma motorists and first-responders.

We already share the roads with trucks that have braking violations, and statistics show that with any increase in weight, these violations could go up to 18 percent higher. Where there are problems with brakes, there are problems with being able to stop. Anyone traveling here in Oklahoma knows the current volume of truck traffic on Interstates 44, 40 and 35 and has probably experienced delays due to accidents or construction. The U.S. Department of Transportation found in 2016 that thousands of interstate and other National Highway System bridges could not accommodate heavier trucks. These bridges would need to be reinforced or replaced, costing billions of dollars and all of us as taxpayers would foot the bill... FULL ARTICLE

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