A recent proposal involves allowing twin 33-foot tractor trailers on the roads. This would be a regular tractor trailer with an additional trailer connected behind, making the maximum allowed truck length to be more than 90 feet long. Currently, twin 28-foot tractor trailers are allowed, but not twin 33-foot trailers. The proposal has been highly debated as some feel this would make tractor trailers even less safe on roadways.

Should Longer Twin Trailers Be Allowed?

Research into longer twin trailers was released earlier this year by The Americans for Modern Transportation (AMT). The results were reported by The Trucker. The analysis took a close look at how longer trailers would impact road safety.

The research revealed truck accidents could be reduced if longer twin tractor-trailers were allowed. One big reason why collisions would be less likely to occur if longer twin trailers were permitted is because cars would be less likely to encounter trucks on the road. By allowing longer trailers, as many as 3.1 billion fewer truck miles would be driven each year. This is a substantial reduction, and with so many fewer trucks driving around, it makes sense accident rates would go down.

According to the study, the risk of truck accidents would also be reduced by allowing longer twin trailers. The study says that these twin trailers would also improve stability of trucks on the roads. Between the increased stability and reduced truck miles, around 4,500 annual accidents could be prevented, according to the research.

Senator Dianne Feinstein and several other U.S. Senators on both feel strongly that this could cause more harm than good. Feinstein commented on a proposal in the 2016 appropriations bill that allowing twin 33-foot trailers could potentially increase crash risks substantially. Some safety concerns with longer trucks include:

  • Longer tractor-trailers would swing out four feet wider than current trailers
  • Stopping distance would be increased by as much as 20 feet
  • Longer trucks are already more dangerous
  • 28-foot twin tractor-trailers have an 11 percent higher rate of fatality as compared with single trailer trucks. If trucks become even longer, even more deaths could happen.

More research is obviously needed given the amount of controversy and uncertainty regarding the safety of elongated trucks. More than 3,500 fatalities occur annually as a result of truck accidents and over 83,000 people are injured annually due to truck accidents as it is. There is no reason to take any steps which would make the chances of death significantly more likely to occur.

What are your thoughts on the debate? Do you think longer trucks would be safer or more dangerous for other motorists?