Local Politics

Big-trucks bill clears Senate committee

Posted June 12, 2008

— A proposal that would ease restrictions on where large trucks can travel in North Carolina cleared a state Senate committee Thursday.

Senate Bill 1695 would allow 53-foot semitrailers to operate on North Carolina's primary roads. It would also increase the weight limit of certain farm equipment and allow wider boat trailers.

The bill's sponsor, Sen. Clark Jenkins, D-Edgecombe, says the use of the trucks is necessary because they are the primary way commerce moves across the country and that North Carolina needs to allow them on smaller roads to protect the business.

The state Highway Patrol, however, is worried about easing the restrictions, saying it will result in more wrecks.

"When you allow heavier vehicles to travel on the highway, and when you allow longer vehicles to travel on the highway, you do see an increase in traffic collisions involving those type of vehicles," Patrol spokesman Lt. Everett Clendenin said. "So, we know there will be an increase in traffic collisions."

Jenkins is offering concessions to keep the bill moving.

"I acknowledge that there are certain routes, particularly in the western part of the state, that (big trucks) don't belong on, and I would be glad if the DOT or the Highway Patrol wants to give me a list, if we exempt them," he said."


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  • 68_polara Jun 13, 2008


    I completely disagree with your observations. The vast majority of reckless drivers I see are those in automobiles, many of which are talking on the phone in stead of driving. And this is coming from someone who has never driving a truck.

  • InTheWind Jun 12, 2008

    "Truck drivers are safe and 2-4 wheel drivers are dangerous." Give it a break. I just returned from touring the West from the Southwest to the Northwest and back to the Midwest. Most of the people who are dangerous on the highway are semis. I drove the speed limit or slightly under in the slow lane and I still had semis so close to me all I could see were their grills. If they didn't get out in time to pass that is their problem. They can tell they are gaining on me. I am not obligated to drive faster just for a semi driver. In fact he is obligated to not put my life and others in danger. I had trucks all over the road and side of the road (probably popping little whites), they pulled out within 5 feet of my back bumper, and cut back in on me at the point that I had to apply brakes to keep from being hit. They were usually driving well above the speed limits particularly in work zones. So don't call them safe in general. In genreral they are not.

  • tarheelblue919 Jun 12, 2008

    come on wolfpackerr, go talk to truck drivers, they will tell you how many times a day they have to swerve, or slam on breaks, do everything they can to keep from hitting someone because of an idiot in a small compact car or a pickup truck thinks they can stop quickly and pulls out in front of them at the last minute, or somebody using the "extra" pavement on the interstate to "beat" him up n down the ramp simply b/c they dont wanna be behind a rig! these truck drivers have more skill then they are given credit for!!!!!

  • lizard Jun 12, 2008

    Much ado about nothing. The roads can take it easily. These trucks cause very few accidents. Clendinin's statement is meaningless. Of course if we let these vehicles on the road there will be more crashes involving them! There not on the road now, Einstein! It's only logical. Show us the figures that says THESE trucks or boats cause the crashes. These current laws were written long ago when the roads were narrower. Time to update and come into the 21st century.

  • shine Jun 12, 2008

    The most dangerous people on the road are the ones on 2 wheels and 4 wheels. A person that drives a truck are mostly professional and log more miles in two months than most everyone has in a year. It is the 'I'm in a hurry everywhere' I go jerks that cause accidents. You can't stop a truck like you can those little rice rockets everyone loves.

    A truck on secondary roads will hurt nothing. With the increased price of fuel there will probably not be as many around anyway and hopefully not the cars either.

  • DontLikeTheSocialistObama Jun 12, 2008

    The trucking lobby is getting it's money's worth from it's investment in Sen. Clark Jenkins, D-Edgecombe.

  • areadriver Jun 12, 2008

    Someone is geting paid here. The only difference between a 48' trailer and a 53' trailer is the amount of overhang off the back. The axles are the same distance from the tractor (or should be anyway) , therefore the turning radius on a road is not any bigger. This part of this bill shouldn't be a problem. The boating lobbyists are stuffing someones pockets. It is ABSURD to think that Joe Boatowner is going to navigate a 10' wide boat down a narrow 2 lane road in the DARK. That is where your accidents are going to happen. If the road is not wide enough, then that's all there is too it. Safety is the reason you have to have WIDE Load banners, red flags and flashing lights...to warn the other people on the road that you are a hazard. If it's dark, then the oncoming traffic won't be able to see that you are in THEIR lane with your oversized boat. I hope this makes sense to more people than just myself.

  • urbizn Jun 12, 2008

    This is all a bunch of media hype and unnecessary whining. Try actually reading and understanding S1695 first, and you will see that our roads and bridges are not at risk:
    - 53 foot semitrailers are now the national standard, and allow more goods to be delivered without using more fuel. The 53 foot trailers will not be allowed to be wider or carry any more weight.
    - The only proposed weight increase applies ONLY to a very specialized piece of cotton tranportation equipment that is operated ONLY between a cotton farm and the cotton gin. The law still requires that bridge weight limits must be observed.

  • wolfpackerr Jun 12, 2008

    "North Carolina needs to allow them on smaller roads to protect the business." BULL

    Business is good as long as it doesn't kill people. This kills. Let Sen. Clark Jenkins explain why this is important to the mother of a baby that loses its life due to a truck that is wider than the lane it travels in was allowed because of his bill,

    Isn't there a conflict if the truck is over the width of the road? Isn't there a law stating that it is illegal to cross the center line. Doesn't this bill violate that law?

    We mourn and grieve when we lose 4 kids to a tornado as happened yesterday, but the 100's we could lose by not preventing this injustice will never get the attantion. Isn't the 43,300 lives lost in the US in 2006 enough, or do we want to see how many we can continue to lose.

    Reality people!

  • orange dude Jun 12, 2008

    Lots more deer on two lane roads. This is just more accidents waiting to happen.