Oklahoma Highway Patrol trooper Todd Hatchett joined a coalition of groups in Washington, D.C. this week to warn lawmakers against allowing bigger and heavier trucks on the nation’s highways.
“Unleashing bigger trucks onto Oklahoma highways is the last thing we need,” said trooper Todd Hatchett. “They’re nothing but bad news.”
The American Trucking Association supports a current bill in congress and other efforts to allow bigger trucks, including longer trailers. Oklahoma is currently one of 17 states that allows triple-trailers on some of its roads.
Trooper Hatchett says bigger trucks pose more danger to motorists and roads. His perspective as a public safety officer was that bigger trucks are more dangerous to motorists and the roads themselves. Hatchett met with members of Congress on behalf of the Coalition Against Bigger Trucks. That group cited a university study that showed a 15.5 percent higher fatality crash rate when double-trailer trucks were involved, as compared to single-trailer trucks. The same study showed crashes with six-axle trucks had a fatality rate eight times higher than crashes involving five-axle trucks.
“If safety is our top priority, which it should be, then we’d undermine that by allowing bigger, more dangerous trucks onto our already overcrowded roads,” Hatchett said.
According to federal statistics, large trucks were involved in 124 fatal crashes in Oklahoma in 2012. That was up from 100 in 2011.