I found myself the other day thinking about 45’ trailers. When my career in the industry started there were still a good many 42’ trailers floating around in the system. Then came the 45’ footers, then the 48’ footers, then 53’ footers, and in some states 57’s. Also, during this time period, we went from 96” wide to 102” wide trailers. The Federal Highway Act of 1956 authorized the construction of the interstate highway system. The interstate system that was created from the highway act was made up of controlled access, higher speeds, and a maximum weight for trucks of 73,280 pounds. There were amendments made to the highway act in 1974 which increased the maximum gross vehicle weight to 80,000 lbs.
In the past truck/trailer manufacturers and transportation companies were quite innovative in their approach to maximize their productivity within the boundaries established by the Highway Act. There was a lot of innovation by lowering tare weight of the truck and maximizing cubic space. A number of states even went so far as to authorize longer combination vehicles (LCV). Widespread use of LCV’s was frozen by ISTEA in 1991.
This brings me back to thinking about the 45’ trailer. As trailers have gotten longer the city streets and docks have not changed their dimensions which makes navigating our urban areas ever increasingly difficult.
This directed my thoughts towards why not go back to 45’ trailers but pull two of them on the interstates? When the LVC’s are broken down we have trailers that would be more maneuverable to navigate the city streets where we ply our trade. It is because of this I decided to look up the regulations on Longer Combination Vehicles on the New York Thruway system. My reasoning behind looking at the New York Thruway was because New York State which is a population dense geographical area and if it works there it should work everywhere. It turns out the New York Thruway allow two 48’ trailers. The driver requirements are stringent before you can pull an LCV. I encourage you to read more about the regulations as there are a number of requirements to be met before being granted the authority to transport goods with an LCV on the New York Thruway. Take some time and read over the information as not just anyone can legally pull two large trailers on the Thruway.
I have been thinking more about this subject in a deeper and more meaningful way which I will continue on in the next blog.