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Published: 20 March 2017      

USA - Study "shows benefits of twin 33ft trailers"

Widespread adoption of twin 33ft trailers "would make America’s roads safer and generate efficiencies that would benefit drivers, consumers and businesses

This is the conclusion of a according to a new study sponsored by a coalition representing leading shippers' organisation the National Industrial Transportation League (NITL) and nearly 24 other organisations.

The study, sponsored by Americans for Modern Transportation (AMT), was conducted by an experienced traffic safety researcher, Ronald Knipling. He concluded that the greater vehicle stability afforded by longer trailers and the additional freight volume they provide would pay dividends in the form of fewer trucks on the road, fewer truck miles driven, fewer emissions, and fewer accidents.

Key findings of the study include the following:

  • Widespread adoption of twin 33s would have reduced truck miles driven by 3.1 billion in 2014, avoiding 4,500 accidents annually.
  • Similarly, in 2014, the shift to twin 33s would have saved 255.2M gallons of fuel and reduced carbon emissions by nearly 3 Mt. Clean air improvements would be like taking 551,000 cars off the highways.
  • Lastly, a shift to twin 33s would have dramatically reduced congestion, decreasing travel delay time by 53.2M hours. The shift to twin 33s would also result in economic benefits. Overall, a shift to twin 33s would save US$2.6B in transportation costs.

Under present regulations, maximum rig length is limited to 65ft (including the overall length of B doubles) and maximum semi-trailer trailer is 53ft, so an extra 10ft of load-carrying space would be provided.

The arguments in the US correspond to the vexed debate in Europe about the (de)merits of 25.25m long "eco-combi" (or "gigaliner") rigs, which allow 18m of load carrying space (12m + 6m), compared to a maximum of 2 x 7.45m for a conventional road train or 13.5m (14.5m in Germany) for semi-trailer rigs.


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