Feds Delay Speed Limiter Rule For Heavy Trucks

Image courtesy of marksontok at Flickr.com
Image courtesy of marksontok at Flickr.com

We all know that speed kills. Yet in many crashes nationwide, speed is often a contributing factor. Despite this, some big rigs use it as a competitive advantage. Is this risky? You bet. However, for some truckers paid by the mile or load, driving super fast is viewed as a necessity. The faster they get done with one assignment, the faster they can take on another.

Safety advocates, though, are on a mission to squash this business mentality. Several years ago, the ATA and Roadsafe America jointly asked for the DOT to require speed limiters in trucks with a GVWR of more than 26,000 pounds. As the name suggests, these devices would limit how fast heavy trucks travel on the road.

Sadly, it may be a while longer before heavy trucks are required to use them. This month it was announced that the proposed rule that would require the installation and use of these devices has been delayed. It’s reportedly receiving an “extended” review by the White House Office of Management and Budget. This, of course, comes as disappointing news to safety advocates.

According to an NHTSA spokesperson, a final date for when the speed limiter rule will be complete has not been determined. A proposal was expected to be published in the Federal Register at the end of September. That doesn’t look like it’s going to happen.

Meanwhile, safety advocates want the limiters to prevent truckers from going above 65 mph. Whether it actually happens, no one really knows just yet. We, however, think that it’s a reasonable speed limit and one that would make our highways safer. FMCSA officials have already stated that if the rule were to go into effect, it would decrease the estimated 1,115 fatal crashes involving heavy trucks.

All class seven and eight trucks manufactured since 1992 already come from the factory with a speed limiter as standard equipment, according to Road Safe America officials. Unfortunately, many trucking companies and individual truckers do not use them. With a few exceptions, they are allowed to travel as fast as passenger cars.

We urge the feds to pass this rule as soon as possible. Stop with the delay. Not only are governed trucks safer, but companies that presently use them have actually reported higher profits due to saved fuel, longer lasting equipment and lower liability costs.

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