Mandatory speed limiters are one step closer to reality now that the DOT has finished with its proposed rule and has sent it on to the White House’s Office of Management and Budget for approval.
The rule is a joint effort by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. While the rule has not yet been published for public view, interested parties are coming down firmly in support of or against the rule.
Both the American Trucking Association and Roadsafe America sent petitions to the FMCSA back in 2006 to try and get a rule made to mandate speed limiters in all commercial trucks. Since then, the ATA has been pushing, nudging, and cajoling trying to get their way. Back then, the ATA was asking for a mandatory speed limit of 68mph, but recently the ATA has announced that they think the speed limit should be set no higher than 65mph.
According to the ATA, forcing every commercial truck in the United States to have a speed limiter which prevents it from accelerating above 65mph would make the roads safer. To prove this point, they note that speed is a factor in almost 30% of all fatal accidents and is the primary cause in 18% of all fatal accidents where the truck was found at fault. While this may be true, some say that it will actually make the roads MORE dangerous to arbitrarily limit the speed at which trucks can travel.
One major concern of the rule’s detractors is the difference between truck speed limits and the speed that everyone else on the road is driving. Others point out that if a truck drivers needs to able to accelerate to avoid an accident or get out of a dangerous situation, they will be unable to.
OOIDA’s Executive Vice President, Todd Spencer wrote:
“To the casual observer, mandating speed limiters on heavy-duty vehicles might seem like a ‘safety silver bullet.’ Professional drivers know, however, that highway safety is not so simple.”
If the White House’s Office of Management and Budget approves the proposed rule, they will open the rule up for public comment and then send it back to the DOT so that the FMCSA and NHTSA can make a finalized rule. Then the finalized rule gets published and it will only be a matter of time before mandatory speed limiters become a reality.
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