Licensed in Missouri and Kansas

Why Increasing the Weight Limit for Large Commercial Trucks is Dangerous

The Kansas City Star recently published an editorial about legislation to raise the maximum weight of large commercial trucks. I agree with the author’s warning against such legislation due to the increasing amount of fatalities from large truck crashes in Missouri. However, as a personal injury lawyer handling large truck crash cases in Missouri and Kansas, I would like to point out some additional reasons why allowing larger trucks on our roads is a bad idea.

Inadequate Mandatory Minimum Insurance Limits

Mandatory minimum insurance limits for large commercial trucks are too low. The current federal minimum for commercial motor vehicles is $750,000.00. That means if a large truck hits or kills someone and they only have minimum insurance (which most do), the most they can recover from the carrier’s insurance is $750,000.00. Large trucks can cause way more damage than this. $750,000.00 is not nearly enough money to cover a crash caused by a 91,000 pound truck, which is the size of truck one proposed bills wants on our roads.

Insufficient Training Requirements

There are inadequate training requirements for large trucks. The current federal training requirements for commercial motor vehicle drivers state, among other things, “a person is qualified to drive a motor vehicle if he/she … can, by reason of experience, training, or both, safely operate the type of commercial motor vehicle he/she drives.” While this would likely require drivers to receive special training for larger trucks, a more robust requirement should be implemented. There should be a separate section for larger trucks requiring vigorous training so that they can be driven safely and their drivers can be held accountable for driving dangerously.

Cars Are Not Designed for Large Truck Impacts

Modern cars are not designed to withstand impacts from such large trucks. Most cars are crash tested to withstand substantial crashes. However, crashes with 91,000 pound behemoths are likely not tested during car design. Any collision between cars currently on our roads and a 91,000 pound truck would cause significant damage. The forces involved would not be withstood by the car. Cars would have to be designed to take into account such large impacts.

These are my views as a personal injury lawyer handling large truck crash cases for nearly 20 years. If you have questions about a truck crash, please don’t hesitate to contact my firm.

More resources:

Kansas City, MO Semi-truck Pedestrian Crash Highlights Need for Better Training and Supervision

Frequently Asked Questions About Truck Accidents and Insurance

Make Our Streets Safer: Hold Unqualified Truck Drivers Accountable