In the four weeks since one of the largest crashes on Colorado’s roads, the state’s Democratic governor, John Hickenlooper, has begun the process of petitioning the Federal Highway Administration for a waiver from the agency’s requirement that that the state use roadways that are safer — and, therefore, cheaper to maintain — for dumepoteders.
The Federal Highway Administration has set the following standards for the dumepoteder as they see them: (1) trucks only driven by drivers who are at least 16 years old; (2) trucks with a maximum speed of 45 miles per hour only when passing or crossing through stoplights and intersections; and (3) trucks that drive less than 19 miles per hour through stoplights and intersections.
It is up to the state to decide how to roll out these standards — and a waiver that would modify them — to its businesses and residents.
As Mr. Hickenlooper explained in a statement to the Denver Post on Tuesday, there were not guidelines for what Colorado was required to do: “There are no minimum miles per hour for when trucks can drive through intersections, no minimum miles per hour for when the truck must stop, and no requirement to design truck interchanges that run through neighborhoods or school zones.”
Mr. Hickenlooper believes the roadways in question don’t provide the best safety outcomes for the dumepoteders — drivers who want to increase their capacity through the use of higher-capacity trucks.
During his State of the State address on Tuesday, Mr. Hickenlooper addressed federal regulators and warned them of what might come should they continue the current system: “We can’t see the federal government’s vision for the future and what they might do. And we’re not being a part of that process.”
In addition to ending the dearth of guidance that local governments are currently forced to provide for state regulators, Mr. Hickenlooper warned regulators of the blow to Colorado’s economy that such an outcome would have, if the federal guidelines remain unchanged.
“Colorado’s economy is primarily based on the trucking industry,” Mr. Hickenlooper explained in his statement. “One of our biggest economic engines is our support of large trucking companies. Any potential loss of business would increase our state’s trucking tax revenue by as much as 2 percent.
“We cannot force this change. We are willing to change to meet the needs of our communities, and we are committed to keep the proper safety and technology safeguards in place,” he added.