U.S. Rep. Reid Ribble (R-Wisconsin) has introduced legislation (H.R. 3488) that would allow states to increase the maximum gross weight allowed on the interstate highway system to 91,000 pounds from the current 80,000 pounds provided that the vehicle is equipped with at least six axles and that the maximum weight on certain axles or groups of axles doesn't exceed certain limits.
The bill allows the Department of Transportation to require no more than one piece of additional equipment as a condition for the increased weight, provided the equipment is available at the time the rule is proposed. DOT also would have the authority to terminate the authorization on specific interstate highway route segments if it finds that such operation poses an unreasonable safety risk based on an engineering analysis of the route segment or an analysis of safety or other applicable data from the route segment.
Ribble said the bill, which he has dubbed the Safe, Flexible, and Efficient (SAFE) Trucking Act, would "help us safely move more of the things Americans want with fewer trucks taking up space on the road." He said the max gross weight and axle weight limits in the bill are based on data to ensure that truck stopping times and pavement wear are as good or better than our current trucks. "When we can increase efficiency, decrease traffic, and make everyone safer in the process, that is a win, and the SAFE Trucking Act is able to help us achieve all these objectives."