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Truck Speed Limiter Bill on Increasing Highway Safety

Trucking Groups Voice Support for Speed Limiters

U.S. senators Johnny Isakson and Chris Coons proposed a bill to limit all heavy truck speeds.  The Cullum Owings Large Truck Safe Operating Speed Act of 2019 will require trucks weighing over 26,000 pounds to have speed limiters set to max out at 65 mph.  Trucks unable to install the new speed limiting technology will be in violation of federal safety standards.  Trucks without the tech will receive a citation instead of a speeding ticket if caught exceeding the 65mph limit.

2 trucking groups, the Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) and the Trucking Alliance, are in favor of the proposed bill.  Additionally, Vice President of TCA, David Heller, cites that trucks will experience improved fuel efficiency and environmental friendliness under the new act.  Furthermore, a 2016 rulemaking decision by The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and FMCSA cites that implementing speed limiters will save nearly $848 million per year in fuel savings and green-house gas emissions reductions.

Speed Limiter Downfalls and Opposition

Some truck drivers are against this bill stating that the new rules make roads less safe.  One truck driver stated that people speed to get around trucks.  OOIDA provides more detail into the safety issues created by the bill stating “the interaction between large trucks and passenger vehicles will increase” with the new bill.  Furthermore, OOIDA states that “there is no clear evidence that supports the use of speed limiters will improve safety”.  Furthermore, the data put together on the issue shows that high speed truck crashes are rare.  This highlights the point that lower truck speeds may have negative effects on safety.

Furthermore, other opinions on the matter state that many larger carrier companies already implement speed limiters in their trucks.  So this bill will serve to level the playing field between small and large carrier companies.  Additionally, the American Trucking Association is currently reviewing the details of the bill.  The ATA has supported federal speed limiters for all vehicles including commercial vehicles.  ATA Press Secretary, Sean McNally, states that the speed limiters must account for speed differences between commercial and pedestrian traffic to identify potential safety risks.

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