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Fuel efficiency highlighted in 65 mph speed limiter support

While there’s a strong safety argument to be made in limiting truck speeds to 65 mph, two major trucking groups are emphasizing fuel efficiency benefits as well in officially backing legislation requiring speed limiters on trucks.

The Truckload Carriers Association (TCA) and the Trucking Alliance announced on July 10 their support for S. 2033, introduced on June 27 by Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia) and Chris Coons (D-Delaware).

Known as “The Cullum Owings Large Truck Safe Operating Speed Act of 2019,” the legislation would require new commercial trucks weighing over 26,000 pounds to be equipped with speed limiters set at a maximum speed of 65 miles per hour. Existing trucks that already have the technology installed would be required to set the 65-mph limit as well, while those without speed limiters would not be required to install the technology retroactively. Owners of older trucks without speed limiters would, however, be required to comply with the 65-mph limit or be issued a federal safety violation rather than a state-issued speeding ticket, according to the Trucking Alliance.

The bill is supported by grassroots safety advocates such as Road Safe America, Citizens for Reliable and Safe Highways and Parents Against Tired Truckers.

David Heller, TCA’s Vice President of Government Affairs, said his group believes that a speed limiter mandate will have benefits beyond safety.

“Specifically, the fuel efficiency of trucks will dramatically increase with lower maximum speeds, showing that this proposal will improve both the environmental and business aspects of the industry as well,” Heller told FreightWaves in a statement.

In lending support for the measure, Trucking Alliance member Reggie Dupré, CEO of Dupré Logistics, said his company “has utilized speed limiters to improve safety and fuel efficiencies for several years.”

Wilson Risinger, Vice President of Safety & Security at KLLM Transport Services, pointed out that “most fleets now utilize speed limiters to improve safety and fuel efficiencies and this legislation will help ensure that all our industry’s carriers do the same.”

The Trucking Alliance cites a 2016 joint rulemaking by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration – which was never finalized – projecting that a speed limiter mandate would result save $848 million per year in fuel savings and greenhouse gas emissions reductions.

S. 2033, which has not yet gained Congressional support beyond its two co-sponsors, has also yet to receive support from the American Trucking Associations (ATA), which backs a uniform standard for cars and trucks to account for safety risks caused by speed differentials between the two classes of vehicles.

The Trucking Alliance claims, however, that such differentials would not affect safety, noting that on rural interstate highways, 10 states restrict large trucks to maximum speeds of 65 mph while cars can legally drive faster. It also points to the European Union, where the difference between the average maximum speed limits for large trucks and cars is 20 mph “with no reported safety risks.”

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John Gallagher, Washington Correspondent

Based in Washington, D.C., John specializes in regulation and legislation affecting all sectors of freight transportation. He has covered rail, trucking and maritime issues since 1993 for a variety of publications based in the U.S. and the U.K. John began business reporting in 1993 at Broadcasting & Cable Magazine. He graduated from Florida State University majoring in English and business.

15 Comments

    1. Care to share these statistics? I’ve never heard of slower speeds causing more accidents in any scenario, ever.

  1. If you think retaining drivers is hard now them wait to you Introduce the 65 mile an hour speed limit. I will drop trucking like a hot cake and everybody that I have talked to said the same thing

  2. Another cure looking for a disease. No safety problem here, so no need to fix. Most wrecks involving trucks do not involve speed, but rather the drivers of four-wheeled vehicles. Most wrecks that are caused by trucks are not caused by speed, but rather by other stupid stuff by the truck driver, the result of bad training, or just plain bad habits. This has Mega-Corporation written all over it. It would be helpful for the journalists looking at this issue to look into the campaign donations to the two senators sponsoring this stupid bill. The root of all evil is money, and the root can likely be found there with respect to this bill.

  3. Most people don’t understand that the majority of over-the-road drivers are paid by the mile. Driver’s hate California not only because of the traffic but the 55 MPH speed limit. They are more concerned with the additional challenges it will place on their ability to earn money and get home in a reasonable amount of time than saving fuel. They are already dealing with ELD compliance and HOS rules…leave them alone.

  4. Once again assholes in suits think it’s good think about this smart guy when all of us run 65 and mile long backups on interstate and nothing making it to stores for the American public to buy you can say dam atleast the trucks are getting good fuel mileage oh and this has nothing to do with Europe stats. Really !!!!!!

  5. Ok so now that they know cutting back CMVs speed they now think tossing in the mix better fuel mileage.. OK so that part is OK but where are they going to put the deaths the split speed limit is going to create.Increased road rage? Top or the bottom of the list.? positive or negative reasons.

  6. If it was truly about SAFETY and a reduction of greenhouse gases or fuel savings. Why not reduce the speed for every motor vehicle? Can you imagine how mind numbing it would be if everyone ran the same speed all the time. Not being able to pass some idiot who swerving all over while playing on their phone, or they’re speeding up and slowing down and you can’t get away from them. No it’s big companies trying to put the small companies out of business. They have put ELDs in your trucks, what did you do? Nothing . They put cameras in your cabs watching you,
    And still you do nothing. Drivers will not stand as a group and they know it. Now bend over and take it!

  7. This is hogwash, you lose more money from the 48 loads less you deliver than you save in fuel costs. 48 loads minimum from each driver able to do the speed limit, times that by the majority of owners and small fleets and it’s nearly 740,000,000,000 billion dollars per year in lost revenue. The fuel savings is a lie unless you own a large fleet and are trying to increase your numbers to hype the information to investers. The argument is pure hogwash. I drive flat bed/stepdeck and it’s less than a gallon difference between an aero truck and my Pete 389 at the same speeds, at 65 the difference is less but my Pete didn’t lose any milage or really gain any. I go from 5.5 mpg oversize step to 5.1 oversize on step at 65 vs 75. .4 mpg doesn’t make up for the lost load each week. Nor does it make up for my lost revenue as a business owner, it also ends up being taxed even .ore through the fuel taxes and soon to come pay per mile taxes. Take your BS horse sheet and shove it where the sun don’t shine.

  8. Having run a fleet at 65 mph only, I can for a fact tell you the fuel savings is very very very minimal. We had half our fleet on it and half not. There is actually a greater loss of productivity then savings on fuel. As far as safety goes, you see the speeding on surface streets increase since the driver now feels like he is behind.

  9. Well, it is always about money. Everything related to government is ALWAYS about money. Somebody, somewhere is making grotesque amounts of money at someone else’s expense. It is such a complex issue. I think 70MPH should be the governed number. People could get behind this.

  10. Why 65 mph? At speeds less than 35 mph the likelihood of a fatal accident plummet dramatically. Fuel efficiency would be increased dramatically at 35 mph as well.

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