Since 2016 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Association (FMCSA) have been working on getting a rule passed regarding the mandatory installation of speed limiters for commercial trucks. While the rule has been outlined, the top speed options have varied between 60, 65, and 68. The rule, however, seemed to have sputtered out after failing to get final approval from two previous presidential administrations.
Now, however, recently safety lobbyists are trying to push for the speed limiter rule and are taking the case straight to the Congress this time, using crash statistics and an economic business case to prove their point. Lobbyists’ Road Safe America and the Truck Safety Coalition have come together to appeal to Congress to pass legislation requiring all heavy-duty trucks use both speed limiters as well as install automatic emergency braking (AEB).
Speed limiters are already built into most standard commercial trucks manufactured since the mid-1990s. They would just need to be simply turned on and set by the companies. Unlike many other countries such as France, UK, Germany, and Australia, The United States does not require the speed limiters to be turned on. Lobbyists feel that through requiring commercial trucks to set and use the speed limiters feature, it would significantly reduce the severity of injuries and fatalities of people involved in large truck accidents.
In addition to increased safety and decreased large truck accidents, there could be several other benefits of using speed limiters in the trucking industry such as gained fuel savings and better brake and tire wear. This could potentially help trucking companies become more profitable and efficient, as less time, hassle, and money would be wasted in repairs.
One downside to the potential speed limiter requirement in trucks is the absence of a national speed limit in The United States. Depending on local speed limits in different areas, trucks with active speed limiters may end up moving much slower than the other traffic around them. Unfortunately, this could potentially be a safety hazard which could actually cause more accidents, instead of reducing them. As long as there is no fixed national speed limit in our country, a potential law requiring trucks to activate their speed limiters could end up contributing to accidents instead of preventing them in the long run.