Grand Blanc Township police chief tells Congress semi trucks shouldn't get bigger

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WASHINGTON (WJRT) (2/13/2019) - Grand Blanc Township Police Chief Ron Wiles is delivering a message to Congress: Semi trucks are big enough already.

He is traveling to Washington with a delegation from the Michigan Association of Police Chiefs to lobby against a proposal from trucking companies to force all states to allow larger and heavier vehicles.

The group of police chiefs is meeting with Michigan's Congressional delegation.

“I-75 runs through the center of Grand Blanc Township and we see a large volume of commercial vehicle traffic,” Wiles said. “Unfortunately, with such a high number of trucks comes severe accidents, and we've responded to several on both I-75 and I-475. The relationship is simple- bigger trucks mean bigger accidents.”

The Coalition Against Bigger Trucks says large shipping companies like FedEx, UPS and Amazon are hoping Congress will force all 50 states to allow longer trucks with two 33-foot trailers. Those are 17 feet longer than standard 53-foot single trailer trucks.

Beverage companies and other shippers who move heavy loads also are lobbying for an increase in total truck weight from 80,000 pounds to 91,000 pounds for all 50 states.

“Michigan is already home to some of the heaviest trucks in the nation, but most abide by the national standard due to the inability to travel far out of state at the heavier weight," Wiles said. "But you don't have to drive far to see the impact these trucks have had on our roads and bridges.”

The U.S. Department of Transportation has released reports critical of both trucking industry proposals based on safety concerns. Data shows longer tandem trailer trucks need 22 more feet to stop and heavier trucks have much higher crash rates.

“While we work to manage the public safety challenges that accompany commercial vehicles, increasing length and weight poses a severe setback to our efforts,” Wile said.