The regulation proposed by the group would affect class 7 and 8 trucks manufactured after 1990. Since all trucks manufactured after 1991 have speed governors as standard equipment, a regulation of this sort would not cost anything to implement. According to the FMCSA’s Large Truck Causation Study, the single most frequently cited factor in large truck crashes, where trucks were assigned a critical reason, was traveling too fast for conditions.
In addition to improving safety, those carriers who today employ governors to maintain speeds at 68 mph point to additional benefits from running at those speeds. They include improved fuel economy, lower liability expenses, and reduced wear and tear on equipment.
This petition is believed to be the first the FMCSA has ever received from a public group and a group of motor carriers. The public safety group is Atlanta-based Road Safe America, that works to educate the driving public on how to safely share the road with large trucks. As its web site (www.roadsafeamerica.org) indicates, the organization is not anti-trucking. It realizes that trucks are vital to the U.S. economy and that most drivers are careful and courteous.
Among the nine carriers supporting the petition are Covenant Transport Inc., Dart Transit Co., CR England Inc., J.B. Hunt Transport Inc. and Schneider National Inc.
“Historically, carriers have waited for regulations to come down from the federal government and not been actively engaged in the process,” says Don Osterberg, Schneider’s vice president of safety and training. “This petition is a matter of life and death for drivers of passenger cars as well as for professional truck drivers. And it is a matter of economic common sense for the companies that put trucks on the road.”