Federal Government Pushes for Speed Limiters on Trucks and Buses

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
federal government pushes for speed limiters on trucks and buses

The U.S. Department of Transportation wants to mandate speed-limiting devices on all tractor-trailers and buses in the country in a bid to save lives and fuel.

Announced yesterday by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the proposal would limit vehicles with a gross vehicle weight rating of 26,000 pounds or more to 60, 65, or 68 miles per hour. Other speed limits could be considered, but that’s up to the public to debate.

The government claims the proposed rules could save $1.1 billion in fuel costs each year, as well as reduce traffic fatalities.

“This is basic physics,” said NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind in a news release. “Even small increases in speed have large effects on the force of impact. Setting the speed limit on heavy vehicles makes sense for safety and the environment.”

Carriers operating commercial vehicles on U.S. interstates would be required to maintain the speed limiters for the service life of the vehicle.

The three proposed speed limits fall below that of most interstates, except for seven Northeastern states, Alaska and Hawaii. Other countries and jurisdictions have already mandated use of speed limiters, including the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec, which limits heavy trucks to 105 km/h (65 mph). On Canada’s busiest highway — Highway 401, between Windsor, Ontario and the Quebec border — a common sight (and complaint) is lines of tractor trailers attempting to pass each other at nearly the same speed.

The proposal has a friend in the American Trucking Association, which petitioned the federal government to mandated speed limiters nearly a decade ago.

“Speed is a major contributor to truck accidents and by reducing speeds, we believe we can contribute to a reduction in accidents and fatalities on our highways,” said ATA president and CEO Chris Spear in a release. “As an industry, we cannot be afraid of technology, but we also must make sure that technology has proven benefits.Carriers who already voluntarily use speed limiters have found significant safety, as well as fuel efficiency and equipment lifespan benefits with little to no negative impact on productivity. We will be carefully reviewing and commenting upon today’s proposal.”

The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association, which represents small-business truckers, slammed the proposal, saying it would lead to more crashes and road rage.

“Highways are safest when all vehicles travel at the same relative speed,” said Todd Spencer, executive vice-president of the OOIDA, in a release. “This wisdom has always been true and has not ever changed.”

Spencer added that speed limiters would prevent truck drivers from accelerating to avoid a dangerous situation. “No technology can replace the safest thing to put in a truck, which is a well-trained driver,” he stated.

Whether you love it or hate it, the government is collecting feedback on the proposal at www.regulations.gov.

[Image: raymondclarkeimages/ Flickr]

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  • Mcs Mcs on Aug 28, 2016

    You should see how truckers behave on I-95/Rt 128 near Boston between I-93 and I-90 in the early morning hours around 6am. Many of them are doing 70 to 75 in a 55. If a car in the rightmost two lanes isn't moving fast enough, they tailgate them. I've even seen them zig zagging through traffic as if they were driving a car. Last Wednesday, I even saw one of these idiots lock up the wheels on the trailer trying to avoid rear-ending a car.

  • PlaysInTraffic PlaysInTraffic on Aug 29, 2016

    "Other countries and jurisdictions have already mandated use of speed limiters, including the Canadian provinces of Ontario and Quebec, which limits heavy trucks to 105 km/h (65 mph). On Canada’s busiest highway — Highway 401, between Windsor, Ontario and the Quebec border — a common sight (and complaint) is lines of tractor trailers attempting to pass each other at nearly the same speed." I've seen this in Iowa, and would like to tell you that this stinks on ice. It completely ruins highway driving. Do you want to deliberately cause more "road rage"? This is how you do it.

  • SCE to AUX Let it die with dignity - no electrification. That would kill the spirit of the original.Mazda needs to think about survival and market share, not tinker with a niche car with waning sales, or dying on Wankel Hill.Maybe their body and paint engineers could help Tesla once Mazda folds.
  • Lou_BC H-E-L-L-C-A-T
  • EBFlex "EBFlex speaks more truth."It's sometimes a burden being right all the time.
  • MRF 95 T-Bird Add a couple of more body styles. A coupe with a vestigial rear seat like the BRZ along with a shooting brake version would appeal to a number of drivers who want something sporty but not a hatchback or crossover.
  • Theflyersfan It's the mother of all "ifs" - if Mazda gets the small rotary/hybrid combo going, I can see them using that in the next MX-5. Can they keep it under 2500 lbs and somewhat affordable? Not sure...this is why I don't run a car company! But if they want to replace it around 2025, and it's 2023 now, they need to get started very soon with some rumors and leaks to keep us going. But with the rest of their lineup going greener in next generations, and Mazda selling under 10,000 MX-5s per year, how does it really impact any average emissions and fuel economy ratings? If they can keep tweaking the Skyactiv-G engine for better fuel economy and fewer emissions, they should be able to get the NE generation using gasoline before being forced to go EV or hybrid with the NF. The mission of the MX-5 is light, affordable, open air fun and it's their halo car. And while I agree that EVs are going to be a much larger part of the future, the "all things by 2035 or 2040 or so on" edicts have "kick the can down the road" written in massive font size 1,000 written all over them. We'll be on gas for a while longer - just continue to eke more mpg out of what we have.All that being said, if they were to put the turbo Skyactiv-G engine in the MX-5 for 2024 and make it a Mazdaspeed model, I'd put a deposit on it right now. I love mine, but if it gets bumped up from 181hp to 250-275hp, it would be a flat out riot to drive.
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