Our police officers in Maine already have their work cut out for them. In many instances, police forces have been burdened with inadequate staffing and an increased workload, not to mention the many dangers they face when they are out patrolling our roads and highways. Our police officers work hard every day to keep us safe, and lawmakers should work to keep them safe as well.

But we expect the opposite outcome if the most recent legislative proposal pushed by a handful of big shipping companies is approved by Congress. These groups are lobbying to allow even bigger 18-wheelers on our roads.

When I say bigger, I mean longer double tractor-trailers. These trucks would endanger motorists that often have to deal with inclement weather conditions — and those motorists battling snow or ice on the highway also include our law enforcement officers.

Though you can’t always see it, we already have ultra-heavy trucks on our interstate system here in Maine. Many years ago, our representatives in Washington secured an exemption to allow tractor-trailers of 100,000 pounds to run on our interstates, which was an effort to get them off of local roads, where they are more dangerous and cause a great deal of wear and tear.

The legislation that the shipping companies are pushing now would undo that progress and effectively force longer and more dangerous trucks back onto local roads, putting everybody on the road at greater risk.

Ask just about any officer that has responded to a crash with a tractor-trailer and they’ll probably say that longer double tractor-trailers have no place on our roads. Longer trucks would have trouble negotiating tight turns, they would be harder for motorists to maneuver around, and they would be harder for the drivers to control.

Our organization has long taken a stand against efforts to put bigger tractor-trailers on the road, and we will continue to do so because it imperils all of us. There are many pieces of legislation Congress could pass to help law enforcement promote safety — this is certainly not one of them.

Bob Schwartz is executive director of the Maine Chiefs of Police Association.

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