DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) — Vandalia’s police chief is joining other leaders from Ohio and across the country.
The group is heading to Washington D.C. Next Tuesday, with a message on highway safety.
They will be meeting with lawmakers on Capitol Hill about federal legislation proposals to permit larger trucks on the highways, saying that would be a mistake.
Lawmakers are calling this the Ship Act, where the idea would be to create a state opt in pilot program. It would ultimately increase the size and weight limit for semi-trucks on the highways.
The current weight limit for semi-trucks is 80,000 pounds on five axles, which is a central shaft for the wheel. The proposal would change that weight limit to 91,000 on up to six axles.
Vandalia Police Chief Kurt Althouse says his goal is to become a voice for other drivers on the road.
“If you take a truck that is 15 percent more weight than what trucks are maximized now, the amount of weight that’s moving down the road, the velocity of that truck and the amount of time it’s going to take to slow down, or stop is going to increase significantly, which could ultimately put motorist more at risk,” Chief Althouse said.
Although Chief Althouse understands there’s a need for industries to move products, he says changing the weight limit will not only cause drivers more stress, but for the roads, highways and bridges as well.
In addition, he says it could be a significant issue here in the Miami Valley, where highways are always busy.
“It’s very busy on the highways,” he explained. “We see more aggressive driving behaviors from for many motorists, not just semi-trucks, but the stopping and going, especially during construction times like we have around the Miami Valley currently through rush hour times, and so the risk that it puts all of the motorist, my family, your family and everyone out there at risk because of these larger trucks could be significant.”
When he gets to D.C. on Tuesday, he says his mission is to express the concern for not just Vandalia but the entire state of Ohio.
“Quite often we hear about the traffic crashes that we hear not just on interstate highways, but also local roadways as well,” Chief Althouse said. “Having trucks that are much bigger that take a lot longer distance to stop, that are carrying a lot more weight could see a dramatic increase in traffic injuries or injuries from traffic crashes and fatalities.”
Chief Althouse says Tuesday they will have a pre-planning meeting, and then Wednesday is scheduled to be spent on Capitol Hill where he plans to meet with Senator JD Vance.