Reduce Truck Speeds Says Association Scott Olson/Getty Images

Reduce Truck Speeds Says ATA

As it’s been almost nine years since the American Trucking Associations (ATA) petitioned for mandatory speed limits, the association thinks it’s time to move forward with a rule requiring the electronic speed limiter on all large trucks be set no higher than 65 miles per hour.

“In 2006, as part of our longstanding commitment to highway safety, ATA petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to require the speed limiter on all large trucks be set in order to electronically limit their top speed to no more than 65 mph,” ATA CEO Bill Graves said on April 20.

“We waited patiently until the government finally said in January 2011 they would move ahead with a speed limiter mandate, but this commonsense regulation has been mired in bureaucracy for over four years now, “ Graves added. “ It is long past time for NHTSA and FMCSA to move ahead with this rule.”

Slowing trucks down will reduce the frequency and severity of crashes. Federal data show that driving too fast for conditions or over the posted speed limit was the primary reason for 18% of all fatal crashes where a large truck was deemed at fault. A speed limiter rule won’t prevent all of these crashes, but it will certainly help.

“In addition to slowing truck speeds, ATA believes in slowing down all traffic,” Graves said. “That’s why we back a national speed limit for all vehicles of 65 mph and are disturbed by the recent trend of states raising their speed limits to 70, 75, 80 or in some areas even 85 miles per hour. These limits are reckless and are needlessly endangering millions of motorists.”

Nationally, speed is a cause or factor in nearly 30% of all fatal crashes.

“We limit the speeds of our trucks to 65 mph,” said  Duane Long, chairman of Longistics, Raleigh, N.C., “because it makes good safety sense, and as a bonus, it makes good economic sense. Our safety record is better because we limit speeds, we use less fuel because we limit speeds and we spend less on repairs and maintenance of our trucks because we limit our speeds.”

“Even though roughly 70% of trucking companies use electronic limiters, that is not enough,” Graves said. “So we are again calling on NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind – who recently touted the benefits of speed limiters in the press, FMCSA General Counsel Scott Darling and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to move this important regulation forward. Further, I urge them to use their positions to push states to do the right thing – the safe thing – when it comes to speed limits for all vehicles and stem the dangerous tide of higher ones.”

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