The lack of uniformity in lift axle regulations and practices among states and provinces hinders the efficiency of commercial vehicle operations. Some jurisdictions ban their use altogether. The objective of this study is to determine whether current lift axle regulations as stated in WAC 468.38.280 are still appropriate, given (1) other state or provincial practices, (2) associated safety concerns, (3) pavement damage due to misuse, and (4) the economic implications of regulatory changes.
On the basis of the conclusions, a number of recommendations can be made. Efforts should focus on improving the use of existing enforcement resources and personnel. Concurrent with the change in enforcement practices, efforts should be made to change the fee/fine structure to reduce or eliminate the benefit achieved from operating illegally. Effort should also be made to establish common specifications among the states or provinces that have comparable regulations. Additional data collection describing lift axle use is recommended.
On the basis of the information collected through this project, a complete ban of lift axles cannot be justified at this time. This conclusion is based on (1) a lack of definitive safety-related data that prove lift axles are a safety risk, (2) a lack of definitive data that prove that lift axles are either being raised inappropriately or are over/underloaded and the extent to which this is occurring, and (3) a lack of quantitative data that describe the economic impacts to the trucking industry of banning lift axles. Additional specifications in the regulation are not recommended because they would only serve to (1) complicate the enforcement procedure, (2) increase the compliance burden for the industry and (3) ultimately lead to non-enforcement of these requirements.