Elected officials in states from the West Coast to the Midwest are looking into changes to speed limit rules.
The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association says roadways are safest when all vehicles are permitted to travel at the same rate of speed. The Association does not advocate for a specific speed limit.
A bill in New Mexico would introduce a speed limit differential for cars and trucks. The state now has 75 mph speed limits for all vehicles traveling on the largest highways.
Sen. George Munoz, D-Gallup, is behind a bill to slow trucks to 60 mph on affected roadways.
OOIDA says the bill, SB359, would adversely impact the state’s motoring public and reduce highway safety.
Mike Matousek, OOIDA’s manager of government affairs, says that truckers are firsthand observers of the negative consequences of misguided traffic laws, including differential speed limits.
“OOIDA and our members are opposed to differential speed limits because they are counterproductive to safety, limit the ability of truck drivers to fully-control their vehicle, and negatively impact the behavior of other drivers and vehicle,” Matousek communicated to the bill sponsor.
“Ultimately, they create more interactions between cars and trucks, which leads to dangerous passing, aggressive driving, and an increase in the number of accidents.”
The bill is in the Senate Public Affairs Committee.
Conversely, one California legislator wants to do away with his state’s speed limit differential for cars and trucks. Currently, smaller vehicles are allowed to drive 65 mph – 70 mph in certain locations – while large vehicles are limited to 55 mph.
Sponsored by Assemblyman Randy Voepel, R-Santee, AB172 would raise truck speed limits to 65 mph in rural areas.
“We’re excited that at least someone in the California Legislature is interested in addressing the state's split speed limits for cars and trucks,” Matousek said. “We look at the current speed limit laws in California as a deterrent to highway safety.
“They are also a contributing factor to increased congestion, carbon emissions, and increased inefficiencies with local, regional, and national goods movement.”
OOIDA has also voiced support for a renewed effort in the Hoosier state to also do away with speed limit differentials. Indiana law now permits cars to drive 70 mph, while vehicles in excess of 26,000 pounds are limited to 65 mph.
Rep. Mike Aylesworth, R-Hebron, has introduced legislation in three of the past four legislative sessions to do away with the speed gap on rural stretches of interstates and the Indiana Toll Road.
His latest effort, HB1092, to permit trucks to travel 70 mph would affect an estimated 63,000 vehicles registered in the state and thousands more that access Indiana interstates on a daily basis.
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