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Transportation Dept. Considers Speed Limit Devices for Commercial Vehicles

Trucking accident

According to Reuters, a new regulation proposed on August 26, 2016 by the U.S. Transportation Department could require trucks and buses to be equipped with devices to limit their speed. The U.S. Transportation Department stated that the move could save both lives and fuel.

Details of The Proposed Rule

The department is considering speed limits of 60, 65, or 68 miles per hour for heavy commercial vehicles, but they will consider other speeds based on opinions of the public.

There are safety benefits to this proposed restriction. Along with saving lives, the projected fuel and emissions savings make this proposal a benefit to safety, energy conservation, and the environment.

The American Trucking Association is for the proposal and noted that it had petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in 2006 to require speed limit technology.

“Companies that already voluntarily use speed limiters have found significant safety, fuel efficiency, and equipment lifespan benefits with very little to no negative impact on productivity,” said Chris Spear, the American Trucking Association president.

Under this proposal, new U.S. trucks and buses weighing more than 26,000 pounds would have to be equipped with a speed-limiting device. The department stated that the maximum speed allowed would be determined after the agency receives input from the public.

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which is a group that represents independent truckers and small business operators, mentioned that the proposed rule would take control out of the driver’s hands preventing them from being able to speed up to avoid danger, which is believed to create unsafe disparities in the speed of vehicles on highways.

Both vehicle manufacturers and the companies that purchase and operate the vehicles would be subject to the rule.

Crashes Involving Large Trucks Statistics

  • According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, in 2014 there were 3,903 people killed in crashes involving large trucks and an estimated 111,000 people injured in crashes involving large trucks.
  • In the United States, an estimated 438,000 large trucks were involved in police-reported traffic crashes during 2014.
  • In 2014 seventy-three percent of people killed in large-truck crashes were occupants of the other vehicles.
  • Large-truck drivers involved in fatal crashes in 2014 had the highest percentage (14.9%) of previously recorded crashes compared to drivers of other vehicle types (motorcycles, 13.6%; passenger cars, 12.6%; and light trucks, 12.0%).

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