Jim Trogdon, a former DOT engineer who now works as a General Assembly staffer specializing in transportation matters, says the Highway Patrol and the governor's office have it all wrong.
Legislation to allow nighttime towing of boats and trailers up to 10 feet wide on roads often less than 19 feet wide will NOT cause more crashes and deaths, he says. Instead, he predicts FEWER crashes because more boats will be hauled in darkness, when there's less traffic, and for other reasons.
In e-mail to me, Trogdon says:
Actually, I will predict now, that if boats are allowed to move weekends and nights crash rates will go down - currenly 65% of crashes involving boats involve another vehicle - if boats are allowed to use off peak times, number of crashes will be reduced (probably by 25-30%).
An Easley aide warned last week that the governor might refuse to sign the bill unless it was changed to ban towing of wide boats and trailers after dark (something no other southeastern state allows). The Senate is scheduled to vote on the measure today. We'll see this afternoon whether there is an effort to make the change requested by the governor's office and the Highway Patrol.
Trogdon says they worry too much about big boats on dark roads.
With the addition of adequate illumination, observation of these boat trailers will actually be better at night than in the daylight hours.
The trailers themselves would still be just 8.5 feet wide, so they would stay on the right side of the road, but the width of the boat itself might hang across the center line. When a boat driver sees another car approaching, Trogdon says, he'll ease to the right to avoid collision.
As opposing traffic approaches, hauler will ease his right trailer tire to drive on right edgeline and will easily keep 10 foot beam inside centerline.
Cross your fingers and hope he's right.