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Time to uprate

30th August 1974, Page 17
30th August 1974
Page 17
Page 17, 30th August 1974 — Time to uprate
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Which of the following most accurately describes the problem?

The Government's continued — eve ii strengthened — refusal to increase the maximum permitted gross weight of trucks shows a curious insensitivity to the vastly changed economic

circumstances of Britain in the wake of the fuel crisis. The great majority of Britain's domestic and export freight travels by road and, more than in any other European country, an increase in road transport productivity is a

significant gain for the whole of industry As has been demonstrated time and again, the U.K haulage industry has offset cost increases by using bigger and cst-volliek, It is, however, now 10 years since the 32-ton limit was laid down and it is overdue for a change.

Without the UK's obdurate resistance the EEC would already have accepted a 40-tonne limit; with the heavy increases in the cost of foe! and essential equipment and services, the economic arguments for accepting this higher weight -which need not involve higher axle loads or noticeably larger vehicles — are overwhelming. Evidently the Americans are thinking this way. and although not everything American is to be slavishly copied by Europe we should take note of the very broad concensus of opinion in favour of permitting heavier and bigger vehicles in the USA.

American 'legislation to increase permitted vehicle weights was, until recently, near to ailing for lack of support but influential senators have been sufficiently alarmed by the fuel situation (and perhaps by independent hauliers' public demonstrations) to swing their weight behind the measure. The Act would only be permissive leaving States to implement it, but another surprising feature has been the tremendous new support OM State governors for higher weights.

With this activity, and with new Federal support for a programme to complete the final 7,000 miles of interstate highways as soon as possible, the USA reflects an enviable concern with national productivity which our own legislators would do well to emulate.


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