Call for Modernizing National Twin Trailer Standard
A diverse group of 25 carriers, shippers, and other transportation leaders sent a letter to Congress calling for policies that would modernize the national twin trailer standard from 28 feet to 33 feet. The group advocated that such a change would “improve vehicle safety, reduce congestion, lower fuel consumption, and address freight capacity issues.”
The letter, addressed to the leadership of the Transportation, Housing, and Urban Development (THUD) Appropriations subcommittee in the US House of Representatives, included signers such as Amazon, FedEx, the National Association of Manufacturers, the National Retail Federation, SAFE, Sysco, UPS, the US Chamber of Commerce, and YRC.
The letter called on Congress to consider policies to improve vehicle safety, reduce congestion, lower fuel consumption, and address freight capacity issues. The signers urged members of Congress to include provisions modernizing the national twin trailer standard from 28 feet to 33 feet in the fiscal year 2019 THUD Appropriations bill.
“The benefits of this policy change would immediately improve operations across the nation’s freight network,” the letter said.
According to the letter twin 33-foot trailers are more stable and less likely to rollover than twin 28-foot trailers and would reduce congestion.
Conditions pointing toward the urgency of a policy change include a US population that has almost doubled in the past 50 years and the 75 million more vehicles on the road today than there were in 1990. Ecommerce sales have grown from $42 billion in 2002 to $291.8 billion in 2016 and the Department of Transportation forecasts a 45-percent increase in freight volumes by 2045, exacerbating the freight industry’s ongoing capacity and workforce shortages.
“Without any changes to federal weight restrictions, authorizing twin 33-foot trailers to operate on the national highway network—only where twin 28-foot trailers currently operate—would result in 3.1 billion fewer vehicle miles traveled, 4,500 fewer annual truck crashes, and 53.2 million hours saved due to less congestion,” the letter said. The proposal would also reduce wear and tear on existing infrastructure, the letter added.
“America must deploy innovative solutions to these critical issues that threaten US economic growth and competitiveness,” the letter concluded. “A new national standard for twin 33-foot trailers will add instant capacity while reducing congestion and making the most safe and efficient use of the roads and highways we travel today.”