MORGANTOWN — A group of truck drivers in North Central West Virginia are meeting in hopes of getting legislators at both the state and federal level to take another look at the impact of vehicle weight restrictions.
Daniel Hall, director of government affairs for the West Virginia Trucking Association, said he was one of an estimated 50 people to attend such a meeting Sunday evening at the Bruceton Volunteer Fire Department.
The crux of the issue, Hall explained, is the discrepancy in weight restrictions on federal interstates and state routes. He went on to say that a law restricts trucks heavier than 80,000 pounds from crossing bridges that are part of the interstate system.
According to Hall, it’s this weight limit that forces large trucks onto smaller, less regulated state routes.
“So instead you have all these big, heavy trucks out here on state highways, tearing the roads up,” he said.
“And the truth is it’s just not as safe. These trucks have to go through school zones. You can imagine a loaded truck coming around a curve and there’s a bus stopped picking up someone’s kids. There are a whole bunch of reasons why we believe it’s not only better for business, but also safer to have these trucks, whenever possible, out on the bigger roads.”
Hall said that while getting movement in Washington isn’t likely to be quick or easy, he’s confident there are state issues that can be addressed in the short term.
He said he would anticipate something being introduced in the upcoming legislative session.
“Last night really nailed down what we need as far as additional information,” Hall said. “I would suspect there will be a bill this session, but right now I don’t know what that would entail. We’re in fact-finding and research mode at the moment trying to figure out exactly what we need to do.”