Georgia Bill 189 proposes the allowance for heavier trucks to travel on Georgia highways. The bill passed by a small margin (93-81 votes) in the House. It will now travel to the Senate. If the bill passes, the law would allow commercial vehicles carrying timber, poultry, solid waste, and other agriculture/forestry hauls to be as heavy as 93,000 pounds without receiving a fine.
Currently, trucks can weigh a maximum of 80,000 pounds. The new bill allows for a 10% variance instead of the current 5%. This percentage may not seem like a significant difference, but large trucks carrying heavy cargo can be incredibly dangerous.
What Heavier Trucks Mean for Georgia Drivers
A full tractor-trailer weighing 80,000 pounds traveling under ideal conditions at 65 miles per hour takes 525 feet to stop. That’s roughly the length of two football fields.
Driving in Atlanta and the surrounding metro area, it’s common to see large trucks traveling in gridlock traffic with little space in between. Heavier loads would mean even longer stopping times for these trucks. Many drivers already disregard the space needed for tractor-trailers between vehicles.
As we covered in a previous blog, car drivers are at fault for nearly 80% of fatal accidents involving large trucks. Also, heavier loads make trucks more susceptible to rolling over. All it takes is a strong wind or a distracted/inconsiderate driver to make a truck and its load tip over.
Heavier trucks also mean more wear and tear on our Georgia roadways, which can lead to an increase in accidents as well.
Some argue that the bill is necessary to deliver needed goods to consumers in a more economical fashion. Rising gas prices, wages, and a shortage of workers led to the bill. The extra tonnage helps reduce the number of trips and miles that drivers must travel in order to deliver products.
Whatever your stance on the bill may be, it’s always important to practice safe driving when sharing the road with tractor-trailers. For more information on this topic read our blog on sharing the road with large trucks.