Daily Independent (Ashland, KY)

Opinion

February 23, 2014

In Your View

ASHLAND — Increased truck weight opposed

The Kentucky Senate has passed a bill that would raise amount of weight allowed for semi-trailer trucks hauling poultry, livestock and agricultural products from 80,000 pounds to 88,000 pounds. The bill now is in the House of Representatives

The increased weight would have a substantial, negative impact on our roads and bridges, our state and local budgets and, most importantly, our safety.

The bill, SB 44, uses language that sounds rather harmless, referring to the 8,000 extra pounds as a “10-percent variance” in truck weight, but let me assure you: these heavier trucks would endanger Kentuckians, period. That’s why I’m speaking out.

As president of the Kentucky Ambulance Providers Association, I know first hand the impact of big rigs on Kentucky motorists. According to the U.S. Department of Transportation, there were 2,541 large-truck crashes in Kentucky in 2012 resulting in and, regrettably, 82 fatalities. To emergency responders, the thought of adding up to four tons to these trucks’ weight does not make sense.

More than 95 percent of law enforcement officers said in a recent analysis that adding more weight to semi-trailer trucks makes them more dangerous. Like EMS personnel, these aren’t corporations with an economic interest in the outcome of this bill; these are the men and women who keep us safe, protect us, and are looking out for the best interests of each of us.

The 2014 state budget shortfall is projected to be nearly a half-billion dollars. That’s a half-billion dollars we don’t have to repair the roads and bridges already damaged.

Allowing 44-ton trucks on our underfunded roads and bridges just so some business interests can haul their loads at cheaper rates sounds an awful lot like a subsidy paid for by Kentucky taxpayers—and at the expense of our safety.

We can’t afford to compromise the safety of Kentuckians.

Thomas Adams, Executive director, Boyd County EMS, Ashland

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