Trucking Groups Push Speed-Limit Regulations

Two major trucking groups claim that high speed limits on the roadways are causing major safety problems, especially for commercial vehicles. American Trucking Associations wants to require truck companies to use speed limiters, but it may not be enough to simply slow down large trucks.

If American Trucking Associations has its way, it’ll be slower going on the road—for truckers as well as for the cars all around them.

On Monday, ATA issued a news release urging the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to require all large trucks to include an electronic speed limiter—a device that would allow trucks to go no faster than 65 miles per hour. The association has been pushing for this since 2006, but the Transportation Department struggled to follow through, even after agreeing to advocate for such a mandate.

“We waited patiently until the government finally said in January 2011 they would move ahead with a speed limiter mandate, but this commonsense regulation has been mired in bureaucracy for over four years now,” ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said in the news release. “It is long past time for NHTSA and FMCSA to move ahead with this rule.”

ATA has plenty of ammo to support its cause, including a recent Associated Press report highlighting that many trucks drive above the 75-mile-per-hour speeds that their tires can handle. However, some critics note that the limiters may not be enough on their own.

That’s the take of another key trucking industry group: the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association. OOIDA wants a similar limit on driving speeds for every other vehicle on the road—not just trucks.

“Traffic is safest when vehicles travel at the same relative speed,” OOIDA Spokeswoman Norita Taylor recently said, according to Fleet Owner. “Speed limited trucks on highways mean rolling road blocks that create congestion and increase the likelihood for collisions.”

ATA agrees with this point, with Graves pushing against recent moves to increase speed limits in some regions of the country.

“In addition to slowing truck speeds, ATA believes in slowing down all traffic,” Graves added. “That’s why we back a national speed limit for all vehicles of 65 mph and are disturbed by the recent trend of states raising their speed-limits to 70, 75, 80 or in some areas even 85 miles per hour. These limits are reckless and are needlessly endangering millions of motorists.”

In a video comment, Graves underlined the point, saying that many accidents are often caused by higher speeds, which he notes contributes to the congestion that causes traffic jams.

Reducing speeds for all drivers “would create an environment where we could all travel safely, more freely around this country,” he said.


Ernie Smith

By Ernie Smith

Ernie Smith is a former senior editor for Associations Now. MORE

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