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Mexican Government Proposes Restricting Double Tractor-Trailer Trucks

FreightWaves

Mexico's legislature is considering proposals that would limit the permitted weight of double tractor-trailer trucks — called "fulles" in Mexico — to decrease truck-involved accidents and relieve traffic congestion.

Cities across Mexico – such as Monterrey, Puebla, Jalisco and Mexico City – are also considering restricting speed limits and the time of day/night double tractor-trailer trucks can travel on roads.

The new proposal, introduced in the Mexican legislature in August, aims to bring the gross vehicle weight of double tractor-trailers from 75.5 tons (151,000 pounds) to 66.5 tons (131,000 pounds), with a gradual reduction in weight taking place over an eight-year period.

"It is not an immediate reduction. The transition offers a decrease of 1.5 tons the first two years and then a ton, until reaching 66.5 tons [by 2027]," said Carlos Elhier Cinta Rodríguez, a legislator from the Mexican state of Guanajuato, in an interview with T21.mx.

The proposed weight limit regulations will be discussed again in the Mexican legislature in November.

Rodriguez and other proponents of the new measures said it would improve public safety, help reduce air pollution, improve traffic mobility and cause less damage to infrastructure.

"In our country, road transport is one of the most used and the continuous passage of cargo trucks causes roads to wear out to the extent of turning them into death roads due to the multiple deformities caused by the weight against asphalt," said Guillermo Toscano Reyes, a legislator from the Mexican state of Colima, according to El Comentario.

"The constant passage of transport of more than 3.5 tons entails affectations to the road infrastructure of Colima, which exacerbates traffic problems and increases the risk of accidents," Toscano said.

Lucía Meza Guzmán, a Mexican politician and senator from the state of Morelos, has campaigned to have double tractor-trailers banned, claiming they are responsible for up to six accidents a day. 

However, other Mexican organizations said the numbers are lower. From 2008 to 2014, 2.3% of traffic accidents on federal highways were related to double tractor-trailer vehicles, according to the Mexican Transportation Institute.

Opponents of the new proposed federal weight limits in Mexico said it will hurt the trucking industry and slow the country's economy.

The ban on double tractor-trailers would hurt smaller trucking companies by increasing the number of trips a company makes to move merchandise, which would result in higher costs for users, said Alfonso Solís, director of the transport division of Coparmex, Mexico's largest business chamber.

"According to our estimates, a company that stops using the fulles will have to increase the number of their trips between 70% and 80%, so their transport costs would increase," Solís said in an interview with El Financiero.

U.S. federal limits are 80,000 pounds gross vehicle weight, 20,000 pounds on a single axle and 34,000 pounds on a tandem axle group. Vehicles are allowed up to seven axles, 86 feet or more between axle sets and a maximum load of 105,500 pounds.

The proposed Mexican weight limits follow several attempts to ban double tractor-trailers altogether from Mexico's federal highways. In July 2018, the Mexican government passed regulations requiring double tractor-trailer operators to undergo certification to operate the vehicles. Double tractor-trailers must also be equipped with safety features like GPS and speed sensors.

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