Morris Young, Gadsden County Sheriff, along with members from the Gadsden County Sheriff’s
Office, is heading to Washington, D.C. on May 31 armed with a simple message for Congress: Florida
motorists should not be forced to share the road with bigger, more dangerous trucks.
As millions of Americans prepare to take to the roads for Memorial Day weekend – the traditional start of
the busiest and most dangerous season on our highways – Sheriff Young will join other sheriffs, and
safety professionals, from around the nation to speak out against proposals in Congress that would
increase maximum truck weights and remove current restrictions on massive triple-trailer trucks and other
“longer combination vehicles” (LCVs).
“Bigger, heavier trucks and safety are like oil and water – they just don’t mix,” said Sheriff Young.
“These 97,000-pound trucks are going to have higher centers of gravity, which increases the risk of
dangerous rollovers. The third trailer on a triple can sway from side-to-side as much as 3 feet. Can you
imagine these trucks running on Florida’s major highways, including Interstate 10? One of my jobs is to
keep our highways safe for Florida drivers. These kinds of trucks are just going to make it more difficult
to keep our drivers safe.”
Legislation introduced in the House and Senate would increase maximum weights for single-trailer trucks
by 8 ½ tons, from 80,000 pounds to 97,000 pounds. With Congress preparing a multi-year transportation
funding bill and a vote expected soon, some of the nation’s largest and most powerful trucking companies
are also lobbying to lift a 20-year-old “freeze” that strictly limits operations of triple trailers and other
Sheriff Young said his 25 years in law enforcement make him convinced bigger trucks will lead to more
“Longer and heavier trucks create a multitude of safety issues just simply by their design. An increased
risk of fatal accidents and a larger crash footprint cannot be ignored just so big trucking companies can
make more money,” Sheriff Young said. “Too many people are already killed and injured in truck
crashes. Bigger, heavier trucks will only make those numbers go up. These heavier trucks will be prone
to braking and equipment issues, not to mention being top-heavy and difficult to maneuver.”
Sheriff Young joined like-minded law enforcement officials from 18 states in making the trek to
Washington, at the invitation of the Coalition Against Bigger Trucks (CABT) a non-profit grassroots
organization opposed to legislation that would make trucks longer or heavier.
In Florida in 2009, there were 181 fatalities in crashes involving large trucks and 2,782 injuries. There
were also 2,945 large trucks involved in non-fatal crashes.
Sheriff Young noted that higher truck weights accelerate the damage done to bridges and pavement.
More than 290 of the state’s highway bridges are structurally deficient – meaning they require substantial
repairs or replacement.
In Washington, Sheriff Young plans to meet with members of the Florida delegation, including
Representatives John Mica, Corrine Brown, and Steve Southerland, who sit on the
Transportation & Infrastructure Committee, which is likely to vote on the bigger truck bills after
the Memorial Day holiday.