Local Politics

Proposal would ease restrictions of large vehicles on state roads

Posted May 29, 2008

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— North Carolina lawmakers are considering a bill that would lift restrictions on where large trucks and vehicles can travel in the state.

Senate Bill 1695 would increase the width of trucks allowed on North Carolina's primary roads. It would also increase the weight limit of certain farm equipment and allow wider boat trailers.

But the North Carolina Highway Patrol is concerned that lifting restrictions on trucks and trailers will result in more accidents.

National highway data shows that although large trucks make up less than 5 percent of vehicles on the road they are involved in more than 10 percent of fatal crashes.

"What the patrol is concerned about is those two-lane highways, those narrow stretches of roadway that have lane widths of 8 to 8 1/2 feet where you're going to now be meeting traffic," Highway Patrol spokesman Lt. Everett Clendenin said.

"If this law is enacted of trailers up to 10 feet wide or wider, there's going to have to be negotiating when these vehicles meet on the roadways."

But bill co-sponsor Sen. David Hoyle, D-Gaston, says under the current size restrictions, businesses can't get trucks on routes to and from their facilities. If they violate the rules, they risk getting expensive tickets.

"I had business people to call me and say, 'Hey we've made a $50 million investment in this state, and I can't get my good in and my goods out," Hoyle said.

He says he does not think lifting the restrictions will be a safety issue and that the law will bring North Carolina in line with other states that have lifted similar restrictions.

"It's all about jobs," Hoyle said. "It's all about economic development. It's all about making North Carolina better."

Commerce aside, the Highway Patrol says safety must come first.

"We just want to make sure that the citizens, as they are traveling on the highways, are as safe as possible," Clendenin said.

The North Carolina Department of Transportation also has safety concerns about the bill. If the bill passes, the DOT will still have the authority to restrict large trucks on roads when they decide it is a safety hazard.

18 Comments

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  • rc4nc May 30, 2008

    Why are there restrictions on moving farm equipment from field to field? I'm not for easing any restrictions on trucks. Freight should be hauled long distance via rail. There should only be smaller trucks to distribute freight from local rail hubs. Where are the environmentalist on this issue.

  • urbizn May 29, 2008

    Before making all of these snap judgements, I would recommend that everyone actually read Senate Bill 1695 and understand the proposed changes.

    The weight increase applies only to a specialized piece of cotton harvesting equipment, and the agricultural width increase applies to combines operated on roads only between fields. Both are still prohibited from Interstate highways, and are not likely to show up on Triangle city streets any time soon.

    The size increase for commercial trucks simply increases the maximum trailer length to 53', which is already Federal law.

  • ObamaMustGo aka NCcarguy May 29, 2008

    ummm....yes it will cause more damage, and yes it will cause more accidents. Is it going to be worth it overall...???? Financially speaking, it may be, to the people that lose a family member, no way. BUT, we could all go back to riding horses to work and NO ONE would be killed in a head on collision.

  • areadriver May 29, 2008

    This rediculous. I make my living hauling oversize/overweight loads. We have to follow strict guidelines regarding visibility and axle weights. I read in a trade magazine the other day that te federal govt. is looking into increasing truck weights, in essence to get more trucks off the road. I'm all for saving fuel and getting some trafic off the roads, but there are way more cars on the roads than trucks. Also, to let Joe Boatowner to maneuver a 10' wide boat down an 8.5' wide road is crazy. People on Avent Ferry Rd going to Harris Lake have a hard time staying on the road with an 8.5' wide boat. In NC, it's against the law to drive a WIDE Load on Sundays and in the dark, I see aot of boats going down the road on the weekends and early in the morning (4or5 am) and in the evenings. This WILL lead to more dangerous roads and far more accidents. We have laws, we all need to abide by them.

  • Huey May 29, 2008

    Just what we need - bigger, wider, heavier trucks etc sharing the
    roads with us. They have been proven to damage the roadways much
    more than cars and they are involved in more accidents per
    vehicle as the article says. As usual, some "good ole boy" up in
    Raleigh is looking for the green, and to heck with public safety and the common good.

  • PaulRevere May 29, 2008

    The NCDOT can't even pave an interstate in Durham that doesn't crumble WITHOUT these restrictions. I-95 is bad enough, but, hey, there's nothing else for them to legislate on. Nope. Nothing else at all.

  • doodad May 29, 2008

    What about the depth of the road beds designed to handle regular traffic as apposed to heavy trucks? We have enough damaged roads already, how does the legislature propose to fix the roads that are already crumbling?

  • corby May 29, 2008

    How could you possibly be dumb enough to make a $50 million investment and not assess the infrastructure around your site? This bill stinks of back room deal...Vince-RA

    Right on Vince. Just plain stupid. Can we get anyone more stupid than these folks in government.

  • Adelinthe May 29, 2008

    Not that anyone can afford the gas to drive them.

    Watch! Soon as it gets to $5/gallon, there'll be all the gas you could ever want.

    God bless.

    Rev. RB

  • shine May 29, 2008

    They are have been and still are running agricultural equipment certainly wider than 14 ft. - So what???? The trucks are not going to impose anything they don't normally - I might be concerned about a non professional - like some of the comments I have seen dragging a boat trailer around that is wider than 10 ft. - The first those people would do is hitch to something lighter than it was - could not stop it - blame everyone else for wreck - grow up.

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