Speed Limiters For Trucks?
The Department of Transportation’s National Highway Safety Administration is proposing new speed regulations for big trucks, speed limiters for trucks on the way!
The proposal would apply to trucks that weigh 26,000 lbs or more. It would limit the maximum speed of the trucks on US highways. The regulations would also apply to buses.
Speed Regulations Would Reduce Accidents, Deaths
The proposed speed limitations aim to reduce the number of serious accidents involving large vehicles.
According to the NHTSA, (National Highway Safety Administration) speed factors into nearly one-quarter of accidents involving large trucks and buses.
As with other federal regulations, the proposal enters a 60-day public comment period. The DOT and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration will jointly use the feedback to finalize the speed regulations.
Proposal Doesn’t Define Maximum Speeds Yet
If adopted, the regulations would require operators to install governors on vehicles to enforce the statutory speed limit. The proposal does not identify the maximum speed limit, but advocates say NHTSA is considering 60-, 65- and 68 m.p.h. as possibilities. Wow, have to obey speed limit 65 sign and can’t go faster in the west?
According to the agencies, they would also consider other maximum speeds, since any reduction can reduce crash severity.
Speed Regulations Could Deliver Better Fuel Economy
Reducing truck speed would also reduce CO2 emissions from trucks and improve fuel economy. At the same time, many trucking firms incentivize their drivers based on the time it takes the driver to make a delivery.
Speed regulation may require transportation companies to restructure their current system of payments and incentives.
Read More: Will Class 8 Fuel Economy Ever Improve?
Regulations Could Reduce Trucking Capacity
Speed regulations combined with the current hours of service rules would further limit the daily distance a driver could travel.
Adoption of the rule would effectively reduce trucking capacity, and would put additional hiring pressure on transportation companies. Driving teams or other similar strategies might offset this.
Income Losses Would Be Offset By Fuel Savings-They Claim
A cost analysis showed that independent operators and contractors could lose more than $50M if the DOT adopts these rules. A $1.1B savings on annual fuel costs would offset that loss industry-wide. The analysis also predicts death and injury reductions.
Retrofitting Question Raised, Not Answered
If the DOT adopts the proposal, it provides a three-year compliance time frame for truck and bus manufacturers. The proposal does not specifically address the issue of retrofitting trucks already on the road.
It does seek feedback from the public on whether retrofitting should be required. According to the agencies, retrofitting vehicles with speed regulators could be both costly and difficult.
The difficulty increases with the age of the truck, since engines in many older trucks have mechanical controls. Newer trucks usually have electronically controlled fuel injection, which makes speed control easier.
Industry Groups Divided On Speed Regulations
Speed regulators are not new, and many transportation companies already use them on their trucks. The proposal pits the American Trucking Association, which supports speed limiting, against the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which opposes them.
The ATA (American Trucking Associations) supports the position that reduced speeds will reduce crash severity. The OOIDA counters that highways operate best when all drivers’ speeds are relatively similar.So here comes speed limiters for trucks.
If ATA Claims All Speeds Should Be Same For All Vehicles, Why Are There So Many Places That Trucks Have To Go Slower Than Trucks?
The OOIDA also says that improving driver training would reduce the frequency and severity of crashes. In addition, the OOIDA has filed a lawsuit challenging the Electronic Logging Devices mandate, which takes effect in 2017.
Photo Credit: Marco Molinari, via Flickr.com