JONES COUNTY, MS (WDAM) - As Congress mulls a vote to expand the length and weight-hauling capacity in commercial trucks, a local sheriff went to the nation's capital to voice concerns about the negative effect longer and heavier trucks can have in his county.
For Jones County Sheriff Alex Hodge, a trip to Washington, D.C. has become his best option to tell about his concerns the safety that the legislation, if passed, could have on Jones County, Mississippi and the rest of the country.
Hodge is president of the Mississippi Sheriff's Association and it was part of his ongoing effort to prevent a federal mandate from forcing states to allow twin 33-foot trailers on their highways.
"We're working to stop the increase in size and increase in weight and length of our trucks, and the number one reason we're doing that is because of safety," Hodge said. "The big trucks, as they get larger, obviously the stopping distances and the challenges and all that takes to be able to stop the truck, to be able to maneuver the truck, turn the truck, all those things increase at the risk of public safety and so we are obviously against trucks getting larger."
Earlier this year, Sen. Roger Wicker (Mississippi) joined Sen. Diane Feinstein (California) in filing an amendment to the "Drive Act," also known as the highway bill that would require the Department of Transportation (DOT) to complete a comprehensive safety study before longer trucks are permitted on highways.
The amendment would also call on the agency to conduct a formal rulemaking process with public notice and comment period.
Those opposed to twin 33-foot trailers include Advocates for Highway and Auto Safety, AAA, the Teamsters Union, several state trucking associations, the National Troopers Coalition and other law enforcement associations throughout the country.
Alex Hodge went to Washington D.C. on behalf of the Coalition Against Bigger Trucks.