The National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) and International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA) have welcomed the introduction of the Safe, Flexible and Efficient Trucking Act in the House of Representatives. The bill, which was introduced by Representative Reid Ribble (R-WI), would allow states to increase the gross vehicle weight limit on commercial trucks if they are properly equipped with six axles and meet the same safety standards as trucks currently allowed on interstates.
“IDFA thanks Congressman Ribble for his leadership on an issue that is vitally important to the makers and marketers of dairy products and the many other industries relying on trucks to move goods to market, as to those who share our highways with them,” said Connie Tipton, president and CEO of the IDFA . “As a representative of dairy companies as well as a mother and grandmother, I personally believe it’s a win-win when we can achieve greater efficiency and affordability along with safer roadways.”
The dairy industry relies heavily on commercial trucks to get milk from the farm to plants and to move dairy foods from the plants to grocery shelves across the country. Because the products are perishable, they must move quickly and efficiently. Unfortunately, outdated federal transportation rules now force trucks to leave plants when they are less than full because the trucks reach the current weight limit before they meet the capacity limit.
By raising the federal gross vehicle weight limit for trucks equipped with six axles rather than the typical five and giving states the flexibility to utilize these trucks where they see fit, the Safe Trucking Act would safely modernize truck shipments on Interstate highways by allowing trucks to carry more product and thereby reducing the number of trucks on our roadways.
“The current patchwork of varying maximum weights compels dairy marketers to transport partially empty loads of milk. This uses more fuel, creates more congestion and increases the costs of maintaining roads,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the National Milk Producers Federation. “Common sense changes like those included in the Safe Trucking Act will improve the efficiency and sustainability of the U.S. dairy industry.”