In a recent study commissioned by the Americans For Modern Transportation, the use of twin 33 trailers would be both safe and fuel effective for the trucking industry. The study was conducted by Dr. Ronald Knipling, a traffic safety researcher with more than three decades of experience. But wait, would making double trailers truly be safe for drivers and the general public? After all, when you are talking about adding 11 feet to the length of a tractor trailer it raises all kinds of alarms. Doubles are already more dangerous to pull than singles, which is why we don’t see as many of these trailer types being hauled. So is there much weight behind the AMT’s notion of switching to twin 33s?
The Basics of 22s and 33s
Currently if you have a truck driver job pulling doubles, this means you are hauling two 28-foot trailers for a total length of 60 feet for the trailers and 73 feet 11 inches for your total rig. If the use of twin 33s were to be implemented, this would involve hauling two 33-foot trailers for a total trailer length of 70 feet. Your total rig would increase by a foot in length to almost 84 feet. This would allow drivers to haul more freight at an increased volume capacity of 18.6 percent, while the maximum weight would not increase. According to the study by Dr. Knipling this increased length would be safer than pulling the 22s. Furthermore, it would make a dramatic change to the economic and safety issues associated with hauling doubles, of which 33s are perceived to be the better option.
Economic Benefits of Doubles
Pulling doubles would save the trucking industry $2.6 billion in shipping costs, according to the study. This benefit would come from decreasing the amount of time it takes for freight haulers to deliver the goods. Fewer trucks on the road means less traffic and congestion, to the tune of 53.2 million hours saved thanks to twin 33s. Trucks would require less fuel accounting to 255 million gallons of diesel saved with the implementation of these doubles.
Safety Concerns With Longer Doubles
The move to twin 33s sounds like it would be more dangerous for truck drivers. You are pulling longer trailers that reduce your ability to see or control what’s going on in the back of you. When it comes to cross winds and traffic congestion, this could be a huge negative for haulers. However, the switch to 33s would make for a longer wheelbase, while not increasing the amount of weight in a truck. This is super important considering that truckers can only haul so much weight, and this includes the weight they are already carrying. Heavier trailers would mean that these truckers would have to haul less freight, which defeats the purpose of money making measures like twin 33s.
Furthermore the study shows that the actual turning radius would be improved for truck drivers pulling twin 33s in comparison to single 53-foot trailers. The twin 33s would have a tighter turning radius, which would make this trailer type safer to maneuver. So while trucking companies like Werner Enterprises, Barr-Nunn and Celadon Trucking may not utilize doubles now, if the standard length changed to twin 33s this could very well help to make trucking safer.
Who are Americans for Modern Transportation
The Americans for Modern Transportation is a coalition that was formed to improve trucking safety and efficiency. The coalition’s mission statement also includes: “We will advocate for policies that modernize the delivery of products and consumer goods to businesses and consumers across the country.” Several leading trucking companies are affiliated with establishing the AMT including FedEx, UPS, XPO Logistics, ULINE, Estes, and Sysco. Trucking associations affiliated with the coalition include the American Highway Users Alliance, National Association of Manufacturers, and the National Shippers Strategic Transportation Council.