I have looked at the video, and feel that some lessons can be learnt from Australia. U.S.A. has an 80,000 lb Gross Combination Mass limit on Federal road network – this is even lower than what we were allowed in the eastern states from 1970′s to 1999! Queensland, New South Wales and Victoria used to allow a 38 tonne (85,120 lb) G.C.M. limit on a 6 axle configuration. Your current gross mass is pretty well equal to what we could run on 5 axles in this era. Please bear in mind that in the above mentioned states, we do have many timber and log bridges. Currently in the Australian Commonwealth, we are permitted to run on roads generally at 42.5 tonne (95,200 lb.) on 6 axle configurations with a bridge formula of 3L + 12.5 – to give a short example, 10 metres (32.78 feet) between the foremost and rearmost axles multiplied by 3 = 30, add 12.5 = 42.5 tonne Gross Combination.
With the two combinations that were trialled, the three trailer configuration is not a good combination to be using – period, due to the short drawbar lengths between the trailers. The shorter the length, the more whip that you will get through the trailers. The other critical component is the type of suspension on the converter dollies. A torque rod suspension will allow vertical movement of the axle, which will not allow the axle to steer itself.
With the two trailer configuration, use 40 foot trailers instead of the 48 foot trailers, and find a driver that knows how to operate one of these combinations. Most of the running over the kerbing is due to not allowing for the back trailer. The double road trains that we operate in Australia are 119 feet long, and go on the road at 176,960 lb., and operate over two lane road on national highways, not the 4 lane divided roads that you have! With the hill climbing, the best way to ensure that is to have the vehicle gear bound so that top speed is 55 m.p.h. / 88 km/h. I know for a fact that this works, as the equipment that I operate is bound to this limit!
Over the 40 years that I can recall that road death data has been kept, the road toll here has been decreasing! More vehicles on the road, but the death rate is decreasing! It has also been determined that in 4 out of 5 accidents involving a truck, the truck is not at fault! From what I can recall, this is from both police and insurance company data.
I understand your reasoning for not wanting vehicles to get larger and heavier. However, one of the problems is that we now live in a global village. As a result, cost reduction is a premium which can result in a business getting more work or having to lay off staff. I want to see the U.S.A. grow and prosper, but, by not allowing innovation in transport, this can be a stifling constraint which can cost jobs and reduce competiveness. A compromise may be a better option for all concerned. As part of the compromise, education of drivers, both in car and truck driving is always a good start. Heavy vehicles will always be part of the landscape, as rail can only do so much in moving freight across the continent. But, for all modes of transport to be safety concious is what is encouraged. Part of this safety push can be better rear vehicle illumination, this can be done by lighting and reflective signs which are standard on trucks in Australia. (Refer ‘Rear Marker Plates’.) Another angle to attack from can be a ‘sharing the road with trucks’ campaign.
One thing that I will suggest. Push for the retention of the heavy vehicle officers. These officers are truck specialists, and they are a dual edged sword. Without these officers, the roads will detriorate at a greater rate than when they are about. They also have the benefit for the industry of keeping a level playing field, in not allowing one operator to gain a commercial benefit / advantage over others. They are also there to preserve the assets of and for the community, being roads and road reserve related items, being power, water, communications, sewers, stormwater and other items. They are also there to ensure safe operation and this may be something that can be looked at from your perspective.
I hope that this has given you food for thought. I base my observations from 29 years on the road being an owner operator and an employee driver.
if you post more posts like this one, i will be definitely following them
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