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–Longer, heavier trucks endanger deputies and the public–
By Sheri Don Smith
I wrote a piece published in Sheriff magazine early last year about law enforcement’s numerous concerns with longer and heavier tractor-trailers, and how a handful of special interests on Capitol Hill want to unleash them onto our nation’s highways. Here’s the good news: Congress rejected several attempts to push through bigger-truck legislation in late 2015. One bill would have increased the national truck weight limit from 80,000 pounds to 91,000 pounds, and other legislation called for allowing double-trailer trucks 91 feet in length.
Now for the bad news: These same powerful companies show no sign of backing down until they get their way.
You may ask why we, as sheriffs, should get involved in the issue of truck size and weight. In short, longer and heavier tractor-trailers add new dangers to the highway.
As a military veteran and a pro-business, limited-government conservative, I value the role private business plays in our economy. But it should never override the need to protect our citizens, our families, or our law enforcement officers. My duty is to protect the people of Putnam County, New York, and my deputies working on the roadside. Bigger trucks undermine that responsibility.