House bill

House Bill 368 could contribute to trucker shortages and harm Alabama roads

Montgomery, ALA. (WHNT) — There are three weeks left in Alabama’s 2022 legislative session and other bills are moving forward, one of which could address labor shortages in the trucking industry.

House Bill 368 would increase the weight limits for logging trucks by 10%. Depending on the vehicle, this could be up to 10,000 pounds.

The potential increase in weight is a response to labor shortages and a lack of qualified young drivers for the trucking industry. The legislation will also introduce a system of grants to non-profit organizations that would pay for larger-scale facilities.

The increase would be 10% of current limits, which the Alabama Forestry Association says would result in up to 185,000 fewer truckloads on Alabama roads each year.

But, AAA’s Clay Ingram told News 19 that Alabama’s roads and bridges simply can’t handle the added weight of these already heavy trucks.

“Most of them are very old vehicles that appear to be in very poor condition and are already pushing the limits of safety with these big heavy loads that aren’t covered,” Ingram explained. “Usually the shafts are much longer than the vehicles themselves. They are already very dangerous and increasing this weight limit to allow these vehicles to be even heavier on the roads is a very dangerous thing.

Ingram added that the extra weight is also a safety issue for other drivers on the road because it makes it harder for trucks to come to a slow stop and it changes their center of gravity.

You can stay up to date on all the bills being considered in the legislative session here.