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NewsTruckingTrucking Regulation

U.S. Senators propose 65-mph truck speed limiters

A proposal to limit the speed of heavy trucks to 65 mph proposed earlier this year by truck safety groups has been taken up by two U.S. Senators.

“The Cullum Owings Large Truck Safe Operating Speed Act of 2019,” introduced on June 27 by Johnny Isakson (R-Georgia) and Chris Coons (D-Delaware), 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.

“The majority of trucks on our roads already have speed-limiting technology built in, and the rest of the technologically advanced world has already put them to use to ensure drivers follow safe speeds,” Isakson said. “This legislation would officially enforce a long-awaited speed limit of 65 mph on large trucks and reduce the number of preventable fatalities on our busy roadways.”

The legislation comes five months after a coalition led by Road Safe America and the Truck Safety Coalition began lobbying Congress on the issue after previous attempts at changing the law stalled.

“Once we learned that this technology, which could have saved our son, was available and in use by many leading U.S. companies, we founded Road Safe America to educate the public and change things like this,” said Road Safe America president and co-founder Steve Owings.

“This critical safety measure, which has languished for more than 10 years, will put an end to the practice of protecting companies that rely on speeding to remain competitive,” said Harry Adler, executive director of the Truck Safety Coalition.

While it didn’t participate directly in the lobbying effort as part of the Truck Safety Coalition, the Trucking Alliance, whose members include major truckload carriers such as J.B. Hunt (NASDAQ: JBHT), U.S. Xpress [NYSE: USX] and Knight-Swift Transportation (NYSE: KNX), is a proponent of speed limiters and supports the legislation.

“We’re confident Congress will pass this bill and help reduce large truck crashes in which more than 140,000 people were killed or injured last year,” said Trucking Alliance managing director Lane Kidd.

The American Trucking Associations (ATA), has supported speed limiters for both cars and trucks, said it was reviewing the details of the bill. “Our policies support speed limiters but were adopted in the context of more uniform national speed limits for all vehicles,” an ATA spokesman told FreightWaves. “As the national trend on speed limits moves in the opposite direction with increasing variance, federal speed limiter efforts must at a minimum account for speed differentials and any potential safety risks that they can create.”

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association told FreightWaves it opposes the speed limiter mandate, claiming speed limiters will not reduce crashes because most truck-related crashes occur on roads with posted speeds less than 65 mph. “To improve highway safety, we support minimum training standards that include behind the wheel time and flexibility in hours of service regulations.”

Supporters of the bill point out that a speed limiter mandate has been delayed by the federal government more than 20 times since it was first proposed in 2011. A comment period on a proposed rule from the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration – which as written would only apply to new trucks – ended in November 2016, but no final action has been taken.

A speed limiter mandate was recently added to the most recent effort to raise the national standard for twin trailers from 28 to 33 feet as a safety incentive to gain support from lawmakers and safety advocates for increasing truck-hauling capacity.

The latest “twin 33” proposal, led by the Americans for Modern Transportation Coalition, would require that twin 33s be equipped with speed limiters set at 68 mph, along with on-board video event recorders, electronic stability control and automatic emergency braking.

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.

31 Comments

  1. The megas WILL eventually get their way and the bill will get passed. They won’t be happy until they’re smashed all potential sources of competition. Hopefully, by then I’ll be done with the industry entirely.

    1. I agree Jim . That just goes to show you that cash is in the dirty pockets of the politics. Wait tell they run the smaller outfits out of the game then then guess what the megas raise the rates and then they have a cash cow and every body will pay. Oh by the way wonder if those people who are voting for the speedlimiters have ever been behind two rigs going the same speed limit trying to pass each other. I hope they do and there on the big road with no exit ramps. Loaded and going up hill.

      1. If both are limited to 65…. Neither should be passing . If you are driving in the left lane and not passing 4 wheels or 18 you’re in the wrong.

        1. its all about the power unit, one will slow down on the hills that will cause the second one to pass. What the law makers fail to take into account. Rolling road blocks are in the future of trucking and everyone will play the game then.

        2. Limit politicians’ motorcades to 65 mph.

          That will save lives.

          Why are passanger cars allowed to go faster than the highest mph in the nation?
          I dont want Mary or her children speeding 120 mph in a 55 mph construction zone.

    1. Amen.
      Isnt it a liability for auto makers to allow cars to go 100+ mph?

      Of course the driver is not at fault when they kill others going 120 mph in 55 mph construction zone. Car should have known better..

  2. Accidents are happening because the driver is chasing the clock. It is all derived from the ELD and the non-flexibility. If all the truck crashes had a causation of speed, that would be one thing. But it has phones, inattentive driving, cars, etc all included. Limit the trucks, hopefully you put two trucks side by side on I-80 westbound and plug it up. Congress are a bunch of no-nothings that think a simple fix will make it better. What a stupid thing to try to do, typical governmental interference. Leave this industry alone! Your not going to fix anything, just another “paper” fix.

  3. Awesome let’s create more congestion. If all traffic goes the same speed there is minimal congestion. Training is the key to safer roads and modification of electronic logs so that everyone is not racing the clock at the same time every day.

  4. I feel they need to explain “truck involved crashes”. It implies that trucks are at fault in all truck involved crashes. The last report I saw some years ago stated that 70 percent of truck involved crashes were due to the other vehicle, not the truck. Limiting the speed of trucks should also bring new standards to automobile safety training. Truck drivers should not have to deal with irresponsible drivers who weave in and out of slower moving trucks and passing trucks changing lanes who have not completely cleared their lane.

    Lawmakers who want to enact these bills need to spend time, more than just a few hours or a day, in a truck on the road in order to gain a reality check. It all sounds good and looks good on paper but is not reality. As they tighten the screws of driver regulations it will eventually translate into higher costs of groceries and dry goods. No one will be willing to take on the job of truck driver for minimum wage to keep these costs down.

    Overall, most truck drivers are safe, responsible and adhere to the laws.

  5. Anything else you fucks want to control how about how much oxygen I breath or when I use the restroom how about putting diapers on dogs and cats because they might shit on a sidewalk if you want slower speeds then lower the speed limit for everyone automobiles included your all a bunch of paper pushing cock suckers I hope that if you do pass that law that every truck out there just blocks all lanes and causes 100 + mile back ups so I can see the road rage and watch the mayhem you think slowing trucks down make safer roads your wrong it can’t stop me from running your dumb ass off the road or cutting you off or break checking you or taking my truck out of fear on a steep grade your so fucking book smart that your actually a freaking retards!!!!!

  6. If this 65 mph mandate passes you will see road rage like never before and you will be responsible for it all. If you believe that some companies will use speeding faster trucks to be competitive to the competition your not fit to make any calls on anything to do with transportation. The only calls your competent to make is to go to the toilet.. These mega carriers are pulling the wool over your eyes. They have their trucks governed at or near 65 mph for several reasons. Of the many reasons is, They have far too many unqualified drivers behind the wheel and on the payroll and know they are unskilled poorly trained. They have their trucks governed to reduce the fuel consumption and that reduces cost in operation the company . It also reduces repair costs on equipment.
    There will be a huge increase in deadly car truck rear end crashes do to the variance in the speeds you think need to be imposed on the American highways..Consider the car driving at 80 mph legally and hit a truck in the rear only doing 55 or 60 mph up a hill . The huge difference in mandated truck speed and the posted highway speed for other vehicles will cause more deadly crashes and we have too many highway deaths as it is today. Lets face facts. If you believe this mandated 65 mph for safer trucks you are not fit to make any decisions . You are easily led by the nose like a donkey . We all know what a donkey is called. This mandated speed for trucks will put the small trucking companies and owner operators out of business and that is what the mega carriers are trying to do. Eliminate competition any way they can. . Pass a law so they can say they did not do it when they pushed for it. Mega carriers are the root of their own problems and mandating this 65 MPH speed is going to destroy the trucking foundation that keeps America running . This mandate you want will put unsafe drivers behind the wheel of 80,000 lb semi trucks like never before. Create carnage and chaos on our highways. Think things are bad today? You ain’t seen nothing yet when it come to unsafe. Fact. If you want safer roads then mandate All vehicles to the same maximum speed. the only benefit you will have is the cops will write many times more tickets and generate revenue for the municipalities. If you can’t do that your are playing in deep waters with out a life preserver and your actions are discriminatory and unfair to the American people and the trucking industry. You deserve to go hungry naked and homeless to even consider this idiotic proposal. By the way, I am sorry someone lost their son in a crash but that parent wants to punish the whole of the industry for it. That is not clear headed thinking.

  7. Cookie Cutter trucks aren’t the answer. Rate based paid detention time, better rates, hours of service reform, shipper / receiver time management training, shipper / receiver penalties, and penalties for extreme wreckless violations which result in serious injury or death are the culprits. This is a multi-faceted issue that doesn’t just include trucks or their operators. We’ve always had truck drivers which can safely operate at the same speed as 4 wheelers. But, there’s a culture among both 18’s and 4 wheelers that don’t respect safety, and adjust to the appropriate driving conditions. There’s a culture a 4 wheelers, shippers, receivers which are disrespectful of truckers. There’s traveling road occupants, Abrupt Lane Switchers, Brake Slammers that thrive on causing truck accidents, and truck travel disruptions which are purely unsafe, and those same operators bring that culture to the trucking industry which ruins the public’s opinion of ALL truck drivers especially if they have had a tragedy that resulted from a trucking accident. It’s all about respect and continuous training. All 4 wheeler operators, shippers and receivers should be required to have some Trucking Education, Road Etiquette and ride along.

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