Speed limiters would do more harm than good, OOIDA says

April 29, 2022

Mark Schremmer

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Mandatory speed limiters won’t make the highways safer, the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said. Instead, OOIDA says the requirement would only make matters worse.

“Studies and research have already proven what we were all taught long ago in driver’s ed classes – that traffic is safest when vehicles all travel at the same relative speed,” OOIDA President Todd Spencer said. “Limiting trucks to speeds below the flow of traffic increases interactions between vehicles, which can lead to more crashes.”

Spencer’s comments follow the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s announcement earlier this week that it had issued a notice of intent to move forward with a speed limiter mandate on heavy-duty trucks. Land Line reported on the issue April 28, 2022.

FMCSA said the rulemaking would propose that most interstate commercial motor vehicles be speed limited. Commercial motor vehicles with a gross vehicle weight of 26,001 pounds or more and that are equipped with an electric engine control unit capable of being governed would be subject to the mandate. A speed had not been determined, but previous proposals floated the possibilities of 60, 65 or 68 miles per hour.

It is unclear when a notice will be published in the Federal Register. When that happens, FMCSA indicated that the public will have 30 days to comment.

OOIDA, which has been fighting off attempts at a speed limiter mandate for years, is providing multiple reasons why it believes the requirement is ill-advised.

“What the motoring public should know is that when they are stuck behind trucks on long stretches of highway, those trucks are often limited to a speed well under the posted speed limit,” Spencer said.

OOIDA also noted that most commercial motor vehicle crashes occur in speed limits below 55 mph, which would mitigate the effect of any potential mandate. Going even further, slowing trucks down to 60 mph in a 75 mph zone, could motivate drivers to speed through construction zones and other low-speed zones to try to make a delivery on time.

In 2017, OOIDA published a video explaining the problems caused by speed-governing devices.

 

The video cites a University of Arkansas study from 2006 that claims speed differentials compromise highway safety.

OOIDA also provided multiple reports and documents suggesting the harm that could be caused by the mandate.

Mark Schremmer, senior editor, joined Land Line in 2015. An award-winning journalist and former assistant news editor at The Topeka Capital-Journal, he brings fresh ideas, solid reporting skills, and more than two decades of journalism experience to our staff.