The dairy industry commended US Rep. Reid Ribble, R-WI, for introducing the Safe, Flexible and Efficient Trucking Act in the US House of Representatives last week. The new bill would allow states to increase the gross vehicle weight limit on commercial trucks if they are properly equipped with six axles and meet the same safety standards as other trucks currently allowed on interstates.

“IDFA thanks Congressman Ribble for his leadership on an issue that is vitally important to the makers and marketers of dairy products and the many other industries relying on trucks to move goods to market, as to those who share our highways with them,” said Connie Tipton, president and CEO of the International Dairy Foods Association (IDFA).

Since the dairy industry deals in perishable food products, producers rely heavily on commercial trucks to ensure products are moved quickly and efficiently. But IDFA says current federal transportation rules are outdates and force trucks to leave plants with less than a full load because they reach weight limits before filling to capacity.

By raising the federal gross vehicle weight limit for trucks equipped with six axles rather than the typical five and giving states the flexibility to utilize these trucks where they see fit, the Safe Trucking Act would safely modernize truck shipments on interstate highways by allowing trucks to carry more product, thereby reducing the number of trucks on the road.

Both IDFA and the National Milk Producers Federation (NMPF) sent a letter to the US House of Representatives expressing their support of the bill.

 “The current patchwork of varying maximum weights compels dairy marketers to transport partially empty loads of milk. This uses more fuel, creates more congestion and increases the costs of maintaining roads,” said Jim Mulhern, president and CEO of the NMPF. “Common sense changes like those included in the Safe Trucking Act will improve the efficiency and sustainability of the US dairy industry.”