Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Are the heavier trucks safe?
A: During the pilot project study period, ITD did not observe any significant effect of the 129,000-pound pilot project trucks on safety. Additional axles on the 129,000-pound trucks will provide extra brakes and greater stopping power. Brakes shall meet the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Standards.
The accident rates for commercial trucks are lower than for passenger vehicles. Additionally, raising the weight limit has the potential to reduce the number of trucks on the road and also reduce the carbon emissions into our environment.
Q: Will the 129,000 pound trucks be longer?
A: The 129,000 pound commercial vehicles will not be longer than the previously-allowed 105,500 pound permitted vehicle configurations. The heavier trucks will have additional axles, which typically will be the only way to differentiate a vehicle permitted for 129,000 pounds from 105,500 pound vehicles.
Q: Do other states allow 129,000 pound trucks?
A: Yes. Vehicle combinations with gross vehicle weights and axle configurations for 129,000 pound vehicles have been in continuous commercial operation in the neighboring states of Nevada, Utah, Wyoming, and Montana for over 20 years. Other states also allow this weight limit or more.
Q. Will the 129,000-pound trucks damage roads or bridges?
A: During the pilot project study period, ITD did not observe any significant effect of the 129,000-pound pilot project trucks on pavements or bridges. Heavier trucks distribute the weight over additional axles and tires leaving a lighter “footprint” on highways and bridges.
Q: What are the economic benefits of heavier weight limits?
A: The economic benefit will be determined by the industry; however, during the pilot project, Amalgamated Sugar Company reported it saved more than $2.5 million during this time period. Additionally, US Ecology, Inc. reported it had a 6% reduction in the number of annual trips. This resulted in an estimated total of 7,800 fewer loads since 2004, or a 3% reduction in costs per year.
Q: Are routes in northern Idaho capable of handling 129,000 pound vehicles?
A: Before any additional state routes are approved, ITD must perform a study to determine if 129,000-pound trucks can safely operate on them. The study will include engineering and safety criteria.
Q: What are the engineering and safety criteria?
A: Some of the standards that will be reviewed include, but are not limited to: off-tracking, pavement condition, and bridge condition of the route. Idaho State Police will participate in the traffic safety review. Safety will be the highest priority when new routes are considered.
Q: Will the public have an opportunity to comment or provide input on proposed routes?
A: Citizens will be allowed to submit comments as part of the public hearing process established by the Board Subcommittee.
Additionally, rules will need to be developed for the recently-approved legislation. The rule-making process includes a public comment period.