Swift VP lobbies for lower speed limit nationwide

| 2/22/2006

A Swift Transportation vice president took it upon himself this week to lobby on behalf of the trucking industry for lower speed limits for trucks.

In Arizona Tuesday, Feb. 21, Dave Berry told U.S. Interior Secretary Gale Norton that reducing long haul truck speeds by 5 mph would save the equivalent of two weeks worth of oil imports – although he didn’t specify how long it would take to realize the oil savings.

Norton was in Arizona to promote President Bush’s energy policy. The Arizona Republic reports that when told Berry that the speed limit issue needed input from the trucking industry, Berry interrupted her – saying, “This is the industry saying we’re willing to conserve.”

Berry – who’s also active in the ATA and chairman of the Truckload Carriers Association – made the assertion that he represented the trucking industry despite the fact that Swift Transportation accounts for only 18,500 trucks out of the roughly 3.5 million on the road.

Swift already has engine governors activated on most of its trucks. According to Swift’s 2004 annual report, all of its company trucks are set at 65 mph and owner-operator trucks are set at 68 mph.

“ … all of our tractors are equipped with electronically controlled engines that are set to limit the speed of the vehicle,” company officials reported in the 2004 filing.

So, any reduction in speed limits would affect their competitors – but probably not Swift.

It’s not clear why Berry was lobbying the Secretary of Interior for a change in the nation’s speed limit policy. Since the end of the national speed limit in 1995, states have been in control of their own speed limits.

-- Land Line staff