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Georgia voters not in favor of heavier trucks

An overwhelming number of Georgia’s registered voters, who were surveyed, don’t want heavier trucks on the Peach State’s highways, according to the manager of public policy for the AAA auto club.

Karen Morgan said the results of AAA’s 2012 Georgia Legislative Issues Survey show that 71 percent of voters are opposed to increasing weights on tractor-trailer trucks, while 69 percent are in favor of higher fines for overweight trucks.

Congress is debating whether states should be allowed to increase tractor-trailer weights from 80,000 pounds, to 97,000 pounds, she said. AAA, she added, urges lawmakers to refuse this idea.

The association supports the Safe Highways and Infrastructure Preservation Act, which keeps the current weight limit, she said.

“At a time when we are seriously under investing in our nation’s infrastructure, allowing heavier trucks will only increase the costs to our transportation system,” added Kevin Bakewell, senior vice president for AAA’s The Auto Club Group.

He said a quarter of bridges in the U.S. are defective, or functionally obsolete, in structure. He said the nation cannot afford the additional costs that heavier trucks will cause to roads and bridges.

Morgan said the 2010 National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s crash data reveals an 8.7 percent increase in the number of people killed by crashes that involved tractor-trailers.

The majority –– or 76 percent –– of those killed in those accidents were occupants of other vehicles, not the large trucks, she explained.

“There remain many unanswered questions regarding the balance between productivity, safety and the impacts on infrastructure,” said Bakewell. “Until research can fully address these issues, AAA remains opposed to any increase in the current truck size and weight.”

The AAA encourages its members and the public to contact the Georgia Congressional Delegation and voice their opinions, said Morgan.