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Indianapolis Personal Injury Lawyers

Will Indiana Allow Speed & Weight Limit Increases for Semi-Trucks?

Posted Feb 06, 2021 by Matt Boulton

Could faster semi-trucks traveling at heavier weights be coming to Indiana’s highway system? Possibly.

Depending on the outcome of three current pieces of proposed legislation, the Hoosier state may grant truck drivers a 5 MPH bump in speed and allow them to carry up to 40,000 lbs. more in cargo weight.

New Speed Limits for Indiana’s Semi-Trucks?

At present, Indiana law (IC 9-21-5-2) restricts commercial vehicles (other than a bus) weighing at least 26,000 lbs. in gross weight to a speed limit of 65 mph. So what’s the proposed change?

Under proposed House Bill 1029, the maximum speed limit for semi-trucks would increase to 70 mph as long as the rig is being operated on a highway that is:

  1. on the national system of interstate and defense highways located outside an urbanized area with a population of at least 50,000; or
  2. the responsibility of the Indiana finance authority.

Anyone who travels on Indiana’s interstate system will likely have seen two sets of speed limits: a 65 mph sign for semi-trucks, and a 70 mph sign for passenger vehicles.

Proponents of the increased speed limit for semi-trucks maintain that the current “split speed” presents certain dangers that could be averted if truck drivers were allowed to travel at the same rate of speed as the surrounding traffic.

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Unfortunately, Boulton Law Group has investigated a number of high-profile semi-truck accidents, and one factor that often plays a contributing role in liability is excessive speed.

And while proponents may claim that the matched speed may decrease certain risks, it would still mean that any collision with a semi-truck is going to result in greater force and an increased chance of traumatic injuries.

Heavier Semi-Trucks on Indiana’s Highway System?

The remaining two pieces of proposed legislation up for consideration focus on the permit status and weighted total of goods and cargo currently carried by semi-trucks traveling inside Indiana’s state lines.

The first bill (HB 1190) focuses exclusively on the authority of the Indiana Department of Transportation (INDOT) to grant overweight permits to semi-trucks carrying goods on specific roads within Indiana’s state highway system.

Specifically, the bill proposes (in part) that a semi-truck will be granted a permit if:

  1. rail transportation is not an option for transporting the resources;
  2. other transportation options that do not include travel using a permit have been exhausted; and
  3. as a result of the lack of transportation options for this resource, supply chain interruptions or supply dock backlogs exist.

The second bill (SB 40) focuses on a proposed weight increase that would allow semi-trucks to carry up to 120,000 lbs. of particular types of cargo.

Specifically, SB 40 would consider an “overweight divisible load” to include a tractor-semitrailer and any truckload with a gross vehicle weight between 80,000 pounds and 120,000 pounds if it is hauling certain commodities, has a certain maximum equivalent single-axle load, and is granted a permit for transporting overweight divisible loads.

While there are some exceptions, Indiana laws typically allow for the following:

  • Maximum possible gross weight: 80,000 pounds
  • Maximum single axle weight: 20,000 pounds
  • Maximum tandem axle weight: 34,000 pounds
  • Maximum tri-axle weight: 50,000 pounds
  • Maximum wheel weight: 800 pounds per inch of tire width measured between the flanges of the rim.

If the new law was to pass, and they were permitted by INDOT, semi-trucks throughout Indiana would be allowed to carry up to 40,000 lbs. more of particular types of cargo for a maximum total of 120,000 lbs.

In addition to the added force of increased weight loads, there is also a concern for the potential for an unexpected shifting of the semi-trucks cargo or goods during transit.

Shifting cargo not only presents a risk to semi-truck drivers, as this occurrence can cause the driver to lose control of the rig, but it also has the potential to result in traumatic consequences for fellow motorists sharing the same highway and/or interstate.

In fact, the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration has detailed specific Cargo Securement Rules that provide meticulous detail on how various types of cargo are to be secured on a truck.

Indianapolis Semi-Truck Injury Attorney

Attorney Matt Boulton has more than 20 years’ experience helping victims of automobile accidents throughout Indiana, including a number of serious incidents involving semi-trucks and other commercial vehicles.

Matt founded the Boulton Law Group for injured Hoosiers who require a personal approach to their legal needs, and nowhere is a custom legal solution more important than when investigating an accident claim involving a semi-truck.

In addition to the damages that result from a collision with a commercial vehicle, insurance companies can be especially aggressive in their defense of these claims given their level of potential exposure.

For that reason, Matt always suggests that semi-truck accident victims speak to an attorney before attempting to settle their case with the insurance company. The free legal advice you receive from an experienced semi-truck accident attorney could save your entire case.

Boulton Law Group offers anyone injured by a semi-truck a Zero Fee Guarantee. This promise means that you will never be charged for friendly legal advice and the firm receives nothing for its efforts until we win your case.

To speak with Matt about your semi-truck accident claim, call 317-350-2680, or write to him by using our confidential contact form.

We look forward to hearing your story and learning how we can help!

Matt Boulton

Author Matt Boulton

Attorney Matt Boulton is an award-winning personal injury attorney with more than 25 years of experience helping seriously injured people throughout Indiana. He designed his firm for the client who expects exceptional service and passionate, successful legal representation.

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