Truckload Carriers Association endorses mandatory speed limiters

By David Tanner, Land Line associate editor | 3/16/2012

The Truckload Carriers Association recently came out in favor of government-mandatory speed limiters for heavy trucks. The group made its endorsement during the group’s annual conference that concluded March 7, in Florida.

Five years ago, the ATA and a safety group called Road Safe America petitioned the federal government to initiate a rulemaking for speed limiters on heavy trucks. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration granted the petitions in January 2011, saying the issue merited further consideration. But that’s as far as things have progressed since 2007.

Critics of government-mandated speed limiters say forcing trucks to travel slower than the flow of traffic is the wrong way to go. Studies have consistently shown that vehicles traveling at different speeds on the highways can create unsafe conditions. A mandate for a 68-mph setting, for example, would create unsafe speed differentials on highways where the flow of traffic is faster than 68.

OOIDA opposes government-mandated speed limiters for safety reasons and also because speed limiters can put a damper on competition particularly among smaller trucker operations.

“To the extent that speed limiters on trucks cause a truck to operate at speeds below what our safe speeds are on interstate highways, drivers will have more pressure on them to try to make up that speed on roads that you might prefer they not be driving fast on,” OOIDA Executive Vice President Todd Spencer said.

“These are safety decisions that drivers are in the best position to make and we have to support those drivers. Any legitimate study shows that safety is optimum when vehicles are traveling at or around the same speed.”

Spencer says no driver wants to become a rolling roadblock and create frustration for other motorists and trucks by slowing other vehicles down.

Calls to TCA about their position have so far gone unreturned.

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