The Safe & Efficient Transportation Act (SETA) would let states raise interstate weight limits for specially equipped vehicles, with the idea that shippers would be able to safely utilize more truck space. This Federal truck weight reform legislation has been reintroduced in the U.S. Senate by Sens. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho), Herb Kohl (D-Wis.), Susan Collins (R-Maine) and Rob Portman (R-Ohio). The bill number is S. 747.
Like identical companion legislation pending in the House of Representatives, SETA is a proposal that gives each state the option to selectively raise interstate weight limits from 80,000 pounds to up to 97,000 pounds. The higher limit applies only to vehicles equipped with six axles instead of the typical five. According to the Coalition for Transportation Productivity (CTP), the additional axle does not affect truck size, but it does allow shippers to safely utilize extra cargo space while maintaining, or improving, all safety and handling characteristics. The CTP is a group of more than 180 shippers and allied associations dedicated to responsibly increasing federal weight limits on interstate highways.
“SETA is a narrowly drawn bill that enables companies to move a given amount of product in fewer vehicles without adding more weight per tire or increasing stopping distances,” said CTP Executive Director John Runyan. “SETA is supported by a body of data collected from academic, state, federal and international experts who have evaluated or experienced this proposal and support the logic of the six-axle, 97,000 pound configuration as the new workhorse standard for the American truck fleet.”
Runyan added that even though CTP sees this equipment as safe and more efficient, the organization still wants the final decision on allowing higher weight limits to rest with state officials, who they feel are best equipped to determine if the configuration makes sense in their states.
The American Trucking Associations (ATA) estimates that the trucking industry will haul 30 percent more tonnage in 2021 than it does today. If current weight restrictions remain the same, ATA estimates that the U.S. economy will require 18 percent more trucks on the road driving 27 percent more miles than they do now. CTP believes SETA would help correct this imbalance by allowing shippers to safely reduce truckloads, fuel, emissions and vehicle miles traveled for each ton of freight shipped.
The Safe and Efficient Transportation Act, H.R. 763, was reintroduced in the House of Representatives in February by Reps. Jean Schmidt (R-OH) and Michael Michaud (D-ME).