WASHINGTON – On Tuesday, U.S. Sen. Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) introduced the Safe Routes Act of 2023. This commonsense legislation allows logging trucks that meet state requirements to drive up to 150 miles on federal highways. Current laws limit logging trucks from using interstate highways when traveling from harvest sites to storage or processing facilities.
“The forestry and timber industry is important for many Wisconsin counties. Yet logging trucks are forced to take longer and more dangerous routes through towns and local two lane roads,” Sen. Johnson said. “My bill fixes this problem by opening federal highways to logging trucks, allowing them to take safer routes to the mills and more efficiently deliver for the people of Wisconsin.”
- Under current law, logging trucks are required to transport raw forest materials on state and county roads.
- The current routes taken are both longer and more dangerous for truckers than interstate transportation.
- Research shows that logging trucks traveling on non-interstate roads have a greater risk of accidents as they encounter two-way traffic, intersections, school zones, pedestrians, and driveways.
- A 2018 study found that 96% of logging vehicle collisions occurred on city, county, or state roads where they encounter school zones, cross walks, intersections, stop signs, oncoming traffic, and railroad crossings.
Read the full bill text here.
The bill is supported by groups such as the American Loggers Council, the Great Lakes Timber Professionals Association, the Forest Resources Association, and the American Forest and Paper Association.