Big truck weight limit increase could pass in Georgia

The bill would raise the weight of trucks hauling poultry, forestry, and minerals to 88,000 lbs.
Published: Mar. 17, 2023 at 6:51 PM EDT
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ATLANTA, Ga. (Atlanta News First) - There is a bill up for a vote in the Georgia Senate that would increase the weight limit of big trucks in Georgia. The bill would raise the weight of trucks hauling poultry, forestry, and minerals to 88,000 lbs.

This decision has brought out a lot of supporters and opposition. On one hand, businesses argue that people are bailing out of the agriculture and forestry industry because they can’t find drivers and the cost of doing business keeps getting higher. This measure would allow them to cut the number of drivers and trips. Families who have lost loved ones in trucking accidents say the cost of doing business isn’t worth it.

Johnathan Parker, the owner of the Good Forty, said they are seeing an exodus of people in the lumber business. This legislation would give the industry some relief. In Florida, Alabama, and Tennessee trucks can carry 88,000 pounds. Parker said this sets them at a disadvantage when doing business across state lines.

“You have no choice if the economics says you have to cut a corner, should I hire a less qualified driver, or buy a truck without this safety equipment on it that is old and has problems with it?” said Parker.

To get the logs to the mill, his trucks are equipped with these new artificial intelligence cameras that his manager Jonathan Wainright monitors on their trucks. He said that the camera can tell if the driver is speeding, looks tired, swerves, or switches lanes too much. The system sends an alert to his phone.

Steve Owings with Road Safe America says it’s physics: the more weight on a truck, the faster it will go downhill. He’s pushing for more truck safety after losing his son in a crash with a tractor-trailer

“This bill is literally like saying let’s let the biggest vehicles on the road drive a little bit faster than the other vehicles. My life and that of every other member of my family has never been the same since that day and I dont want that to happen to other Georgia families,” said Owings.

Georgia is ranked fourth in the nation for crashes involving trucks. The Georgia Department of Transportation said in a meeting that bigger trucks would tear up roads and bridges much faster. This bill could cost the state millions in road repairs.