Big rigs driving through Tennessee might
soon have to slow down. State officials are discussing lowering the interstate
speed limit for large trucks as a way for counties to meet federal air quality
standards, according to local media.
The state Air Pollution Control Board is
recommending a series of changes, including making the maximum speed for semis
55 mph, down from 70 mph, to reduce the amount of ozone-causing compounds going
into the air.
The resolution also suggests banning
truckers from idling engines for long periods and requiring companies with
government contracts to use clean engine technology and fuel additives for heavy-duty
The board is trying to bring Tennessee
counties into compliance with federal air quality rules that take effect in
Failure to meet the new standards by
2007 could result in an end to industrial expansion and large cuts in federal
highway funding for the area.
The board’s suggestions need study,
especially the lower speed limit for trucks, state Rep. Phillip Pinion, D-Union
City, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, told The Tennessean.
“I think it’s something we need to look
at, but we don’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water and impose
something on truckers until we know for sure that it would be of help,” Pinion
said. “Trucks move this country.”
The state is a major artery for truckers,
and lower speed limits would affect the income of drivers and delay deliveries,
Todd Spencer, executive vice president
of the Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association said, “Tennessee truckers
should embrace this discussion as an opportunity to get better acquainted with