OOIDA to senators: Speed limiter amendment would ‘fail to improve safety’

August-September 2019

Greg Grisolano

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A proposal to mandate speed limiters in commercial vehicles would not only fail to improve safety but “would lead to more crashes involving commercial vehicles.” That’s the position the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association took in a recent letter to a pair of U.S. senators who have introduced a proposal to mandate speed limiters in commercial vehicles.

Sens. Johnny Isakson, R-Ga., and Chris Coons, D-Del., introduced legislation in June that would mandate vehicles weighing more than 26,000 pounds be restricted to a top speed of 65 miles per hour.

The proposal also would establish that all large trucks manufactured after the effective date be equipped with speed-limiting technology. And within six months of enactment, the secretary of the U.S. Department of Transportation must “establish standards and rules to ensure that the speed-limiting technology on large trucks is accurate and that the trucks adhere to a maximum speed no faster than 65 mph.”

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association has long opposed any effort to mandate speed-limiting devices on commercial trucks, citing research that risks posed by increasing vehicle interactions via speed differentials outweigh any purported safety benefit of slowing down large trucks and buses.

“By establishing a one-size-fits-all federal mandate limiting (commercial motor vehicles) to 65 mph, your legislation would create dangerous speed differentials between CMVs and other vehicles,” OOIDA President Todd Spencer wrote in a letter sent to the pair on July 11. “Decades of highway research shows greater speed differentials increase interactions between truck drivers and other road users. Studies have consistently demonstrated that increasing interactions between vehicles directly increases the likelihood of crashes.”

Spencer’s letter also highlighted concerns that speed limiters would increase pressure on drivers.

“Truckers required to operate below the posted speed limit are forced to drive maximum hours to cover the same distance, which increases their fatigue and places even greater stress on them to comply with burdensome hours-of-service regulations,” he wrote. LL

 

Greg Grisolano

Greg Grisolano joined Land Line in 2013. He was formerly a reporter for the Joplin Globe. He brings business writing and photography skills to Land Line, and has a passion for finding and telling stories about the people who make up the trucking industry.

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