OOIDA opposes ATA speed limiter plan

| 2/27/2006

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association does not condone speeding and its members acknowledge that excessive speeding is a legitimate concern. But the Association has taken a stance against a measure by the ATA to dictate the top speed of trucks with speed limiters, also known as engine governors.

OOIDA has announced its position on the issue and opposes ATA’s endorsement of speed limiters to be set on all new trucks at 68 mph at the point of manufacture.

Approximately 70 ATA members voted to endorse speed limiters at their annual leadership conference in mid-February in Florida. The vote prompted OOIDA to respond.

One of the main points OOIDA cites is that even if heavy trucks are capped at 68 mph, the four-wheeled vehicles are not limited and will continue to push the posted speed limits. Many states have speed limits higher than 68 mph.

Such speed disparity has been studied, and those studies show differences in speed between cars and trucks lead to more interactions, maneuvering and safety hazards, according to Steven Johnson, a professor at the University of Arkansas.

OOIDA also referred to a pilot program in the state of Washington that put state troopers into truck cabs as ride-alongs. Those troopers used radios to inform other troopers of violations. Results indicated that of the 5,000 tickets issued, 86 percent of them went to drivers of four-wheelers.

“It may sound like a good thing to slow down all the big trucks, said Todd Spencer, OOIDA executive vice president. “But unless you slow down all the other vehicles too, you’ve really only made things more dangerous. That’s why some states are increasing previously lower speeds for trucks.”

Instead of speed limiters activated on truck engines, OOIDA encourages driver training, compliance with speed laws and other safety measures having to do with sharing the road.