The transportation industry is facing the first nationwide truck size change in nearly three decades. In our last blog post, Tractor Trailers – Is Bigger Better? we introduced the heated debated about a proposal to increase trailer length from 28 feet to 33 feet. What would you do with the extra space?
The current bill proposing a PUP trailer size change of 28 feet to 33 feet can lead to not only less road congestion and logged miles, but also cost savings in the long run. This can also be seen as a relief to the forecasted driver shortage – fewer trucks require fewer drivers.
Michael Scheid, a senior analyst at SJ Consulting in Sewickley, Pennsylvania told Transport Topics that the size change can lead to an 18% increase in productivity for LTL and parcel carriers. It is estimated that, with the new trailer size, it will take 25,000 fewer trailers to transport the same amount of freight across the US. This will cut 1.3 billion miles annually and equal over a billion dollars in cost savings.
Big names in the transportation industry have voiced their opposition based on safety standards, although studies have shown that the size increase will not affect the stopping distance and should not increase the rollover crash rate. Founder and chairman of FedEx Corp., Fred Smith is on record saying that he believes the use of the larger trailers will be “safer, more environmentally friendly and save a tremendous amount of fuel.” (Transport Topics)
The Transportation, Housing and Urban Development (THUD) bill was introduced by Representative Mario Diaz-Balart (FL) in May of 2015. It was passed by the House of Representatives last year and more recently by the Senate on June 19, 2016. Now there is speculation on whether or not the president will veto the bill.
In addition to the trailer extension, THUD also includes the following:
- Require a thorough study of the 34-hour restart provision
- Provide an increased $55.3 billion in discretionary spending for transportation
- Enforced provisions of the Hours of Service rule regarding the 60-70 hour limit