May 31, 2011
Teamsters General President Jim Hoffa joined Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), Rep. James McGovern, (D-Mass.) and safety advocates and family members of highway accident victims at a press conference today to endorse the Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation Act (SHIPA), legislation that would restrict the size and weight of trucks that travel U.S. highways.
SHIPA would set limitations on size and weight of commercial trucks on the highways, preventing potentially dangerous vehicles from threatening the driving public. Large trucks are more dangerous to drive and damage highways and bridges. As the nation’s infrastructure ages, heavier trucks will only accelerate the wear and tear.
“More than 600,000 of our 1.4 million members start their workday by turning a key in vehicle,” Hoffa said in a written press statement. “That gives Teamsters a real-life perspective on the dangers involved in increasing the size and weight of trucks from their current levels. Heavier and longer trucks mean greater stopping distances and shorter reaction times. And the reality is that our highways and bridges are not equipped to handle the increased weight and size of these trucks.”
A recent nationwide poll found that 89 percent of the general public strongly opposes larger trucks. Nearly half of the nation’s bridges are more than 40 years old, with one in four structurally deficient or functionally obsolete. (Click here to see the Better Roads “Bridge Inventory.”)
“We must protect our existing infrastructure, and increasing truck weights isn’t sound transportation policy,” Hoffa said. “The SHIPA bill is the right approach as we strive to keep our highways safe and make the necessary improvements to our infrastructure to build the transportation capacity needed to compete in the global economy.”
Founded in 1903, the International Brotherhood of Teamsters represents more than 1.4 million hardworking men and women in the United States, Canada and Puerto Rico.