By on August 27, 2016

semi trailer (raymondclarkeimages/Flickr)

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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121 Comments on “Federal Government Pushes for Speed Limiters on Trucks and Buses...”


  • avatar

    This is a proposal supported mostly by the very large trucking firms for financial reasons. The owner operator independent truckers oppose the proposal. The independents operate more efficiently and have better safety records than the very large trucking firms. Artificially and unnecessarily installing speed limiters on the independent’s trucks will make them less competitive. The proposal will increase shipping costs overall, raising the prices on everything that is shipped by trucks – and that is most everything.

    This is a terrible idea that no one should support (except the uncompetitive very large trucking firms).

    James C. Walker, National Motorists Association

    • 0 avatar
      Pch101

      And here I thought that the NMA loved the autobahn.

      The same Germans who allow much of the autobahn network to have no fixed limit for passenger cars impose an 80 km/h (50 mph) limit on heavy vehicles.

      • 0 avatar
        Kenmore

        Unterfahrzeuge

      • 0 avatar
        Jeff Weimer

        A speed limit is one thing. A speed *limiter* is another.

        I would be willing to entertain a statutory speed limit for heavy vehicles lower than for passenger vehicles.

        That would give nearly all the benefits of the proposal along with the flexibility to exceed it if necessary.

        • 0 avatar
          Pch101

          The EU has also mandated speed limiters for some time.

          • 0 avatar
            Jeff Weimer

            Ok. good to know.

            Doesn’t necessarily make it a good idea, though.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            Speed limits are a state matter.

            If the feds want to reduce truck speeds, then governors are the only tool that they have, barring a return to the not-so-good-old-days when the feds used the threat of withholding highway funds.

          • 0 avatar
            ToddAtlasF1

            Speed doesn’t kill. It’s differences in speed that kill. Europeans are wrong, as anyone who has driven on the autobahn since reunification knows. While it is good to restrict trucks’ use of left lanes, and to always have at least three lanes on interstates on any grade where trucks are going to be incapable of running the speed limit, having slow trucks clogging the access lanes of highways is a recipe for more deaths, not less. This is all about eliminating the competitiveness of small trucking firms, which is probably the same driver for European traffic laws, where competition is considered as threatening as standing to pee.

          • 0 avatar
            golden2husky

            Can’t say I often agree with ToddAtlas very often, but his post here is spot on. Anybody who drives the highways with any regularity knows that large speed differentials cause the most commotion – whether this be caused by an individual going 90 or a self righteous tool going 54 in the left lane. Smooth, relatively even speeds keep the traffic moving with minimal lane switching, hard braking, and other disturbances that interfere with the flow of traffic. And the actual limit has little to do with it. When heavy rains pop up the traffic – surprise – automatically slows to match the condition without somebody forcing them to do so.

            Of course the big trucking companies like this. This will suck up some of the advantage held by small, nimble trucking companies that can outperform the Goliaths. As for cost of transport, if this country was really looking for the cheapest, least polluting means of distribution, we would use freight trains for those long runs.

          • 0 avatar
            Pch101

            The Germans and the rest of Europe do just fine with speed variance. They use lane discipline in order to mitigate the effects.

            California has an interstate speed limit for trucks that is 15 mph below the passenger car limit in rural areas, and 10 mph lower in urban areas. That is combined with a rule that confines trucks to the two right-hand lanes. That also works well.

            Speed variance is inevitable. Not everyone wants to drive the same speed, and some vehicles should travel more slowly than others. Instead of freaking out about it, speed variance needs to be managed, since there is no way to avoid it.

      • 0 avatar
        Jerome10

        In many cases, the unlimited sections the trucks are not permitted out of the right lane (not allowed to pass).

    • 0 avatar
      Jeff Weimer

      I wondered why the big company group was so in favor of it, and the independents – the “little guys” – were so adamantly against it. It does seem to be a way of eliminating a competitive advantage the small operators enjoy.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Jeff Weimer,
        I think it has more to do with saving money. Tyres, drivetrain wear, fuel, etc all cost significantly more driving at higher speeds.

        • 0 avatar
          Jeff Weimer

          If that’s the issue, then they can install limiters on their own trucks, there’s no one stopping them. They don’t need to have the Federal government tell them to do so.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Large companies have the benefit of long term stable contracts and multiple terminals. This allows them to have great control over transport time. They know what speeds yield the best fuel economy and truck wear and tear. They also have internal statistics on accidents and inadvertent truck damage. There is a reason why it is called “logistics”.

        Small owner/operators do not have the same economies of scale and can be frequently on the hunt for small contracts. They will try to make up for delays and/or a lack of logistical support by driving fast. They can make more money by shortening transit time.

        It makes perfect sense that the “big boys” are pro-speed control and the “little guys” are against it.

        Speed enforcement has come to the logging industry where I live and it has had a positive effect on safety.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Owner/Operators get speeding tickets and just pay more for insurance.

          Drivers working for large companies get speeding tickets and just get fired. They’re not looking to speed.

          I saw a 7Up route driver in tears at the scene of a minor accident. He knew he was fired.

          • 0 avatar
            Lou_BC

            @DenverMike – it all depends on the circumstances of an accident coupled with the driver’s record. If the guy has had multiple MVC’s then I’d say firing him is logical. A good driver with a clean record is a different matter.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      So you support the independents’ right to drive like cowboys?

      A heavy truck is not safe at the high speeds some of them like to reach. Heavy truck brakes and tires are designed for 65 mph operation. Driving a semi at 80 mph is just like driving your car with T-rated winter tires at 130 mph. Expect tread separations, blowouts, and failed panic stops.

      I support this proposal because I think heavy equipment being operated well beyond its design capability is much more of a safety problem than a predictable speed differential.

  • avatar
    CliffG

    I believe forcing a trucker to travel across Wyoming or Texas at 68mph is unconstitutional under the “cruel and unusual” punishment clause. However, putting in GPS activated limiters in urban zones in commercial trucks only is not an idea I would be opposed to.

    • 0 avatar
      PrincipalDan

      Yes yes yes. Not cruel and unusual for the driver but definitely for the public. Here out west we already have enough truck drivers “passing” each other at a speed differential so minor it might take several miles to get the passing completed. THAT IS A MAJOR SOURCE OF ROAD RAGE!

      I think having multi ton beasts moving at 65-70 mph in a 75 mph posted limit is a hell of a lot more dangerous than lawmakers admit.

      • 0 avatar
        dal20402

        Having those beasts going 75, 80, or 85 mph is a hell of a lot more dangerous than that. Brakes, tires, and suspension aren’t designed for it.

        A 65 mph limit and a 68 mph governor are good policy.

        • 0 avatar
          operagost

          3 minutes on Google tells me that truck tires are rated for 75 MPH, when properly inflated.

          I don’t want trucks driving at any speed on underinflated or worn out tires.

          Brakes should be powerful enough to stop the truck within a reasonable distance when properly loaded. If a truck is overloaded, I don’t want it driving at any speed. I doubt you can say 75 MPH is “too fast” without knowing the age, brake specs, and LOAD of a specific rig.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Many commercial diesel trucks already have governors set around 66 mph. I’m not sure about commercial buses but I have seldom seen them beyond 65 mph as I almost always must pass them on the highway because they are not driving along at the speed of regular traffic. I’ve got an idea, let’s regulate the NHSTA out of some job requisitions instead.

    • 0 avatar
      cdotson

      I followed a pair of charter buses up I95 from Richmond to DC that were typically cruising at 80. That’s reckless driving in Virginia for any driver; I suspect the rules are harsher for commercial drivers.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Buses are just like trucks: the big guys already have speed limiters (usually 65 mph) and the little guys try to compete through cowboy driving.

      A heavy truck or full-size bus is unsafe at 80+ mph. Period. The tires are not designed for those speeds and the brakes are not designed to dissipate the energy of a panic stop from those speeds.

  • avatar

    Why don’t they just outlaw paying drivers by the mile? This stupid pay structure is the only reason that the drivers speed, don’t sleep etc…

    UPS pays most of their drivers by the hour and they have over 8,000 drivers who haven’t had an accident in 25 years of driving (UPS circle of honor)

    • 0 avatar
      jacob_coulter

      I could easily see trucking as a job disappearing in 10-15 years with automation, so it probably won’t be an issue.

      Probably the best application I can think of for driverless “cars”.

      • 0 avatar
        Joe Btfsplk

        The very first vehicles to go the “full automation” route will be heavy trucks. The investment in technology is amortised over a longer period along with the labor cost savings. This is the warm-up to that reality.

        • 0 avatar
          CoastieLenn

          Joe- I am firmly planted in the commercial shipping industry and follow the International Maritime Organization’s goings-on daily.

          The first “vehicles” to go full automation is realistically going to go that route are commercial ships.

          http://gcaptain.com/automation/

          The IMO is currently working on regulations on how to proceed with this as we speak. Rolls Royce produces automation systems where engine rooms and machinery spaces are designated as “unmanned” and basically allows the engineering crew to be smaller in scale as well as frees them up to perform other on-watch duties. If this can be done “unmanned” onboard the ship, it can relatively easily be done “unmanned” from shoreside control.

  • avatar
    nickoo

    This is so stupid and short sighted, it will just make driving even worse than it already is unless there is also a law truckers must stay in the slow lane at all times. Trucks shouldn’t be travelling on interstate highways to begin with. The vast majority of road wear is because of heavy trucks. Yet the taxpayers are the ones paying for it.

    The FED GOV should do something worthwhile for once this half century and build coast to coast double track rails for high speed goods shipments. Not only will it save fuel, it will get trucks off the road. I want truckers to lose their jobs and that Industry to go the way of the buggy, I have had more close calls with bad truck drivers than any other situation. Especially here in Florida with the trucks coming from the ports…why load shipping containers and break bulk onto trucks one at a time when a train can carry close to 100?

    Trucks for local delivery only!

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      Trucks and buses pay more than their share from fuel taxes alone. But if you keep having run-ins with trucks, you’re no doubt chillin’ in their blind spots or cutting them off. You have to treat them differently than cars. When you give them room, you give yourself room.

      Except most goods travel in bulk by trains. Distribution centers are near railroads and what you mostly see is local trucks. I’m sure you’re happy enough when the store shelves have exactly what you need when you need it.

      • 0 avatar
        nickoo

        Thats bs. Every incident of having a truck ride my rear, pull on to the highway at 35, back up traffic and create jamd for miles because it cant pass, or even having a truck pull off the shoulder right in front of me on a highway from a dead stop have nothing to do with ME. Truckers are terrible selfish drivers and I hate them. I hope they all lose their jobs. I have never had these issues with other vehicles, simply truckers and the sub 75 IQ drivers in the cab.

        • 0 avatar
          DenverMike

          Unfortunately trucks are necessary for you to enjoy and maintain your self-absorbed lifestyle.

          • 0 avatar
            nickoo

            Truckers make their living on the tax payers dime. They are welfare bums. Why should I have to pay for the damage they cause to highways?

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            “Truckers make their living on the tax payers dime.”

            Been scanning USAJOBS for some time now; I haven’t seen many for OTR truckers.

            What’s the GS range of those you’ve seen?

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Why? Why do you want food/goods at your local stores? Why do you want your trash picked up? Why do you want your kids picked up for school and dropped off? Why do you want gasoline available at your local gas stations? Why do you want chicken wraps at McDonalds? Why do you want water to come out of the tap when you open it? Why do want waste water to leave your toilet when you flush it? Why do you want your cable/internet? Why do you want electricity? Why do you want a house to live in? Why do you want your car fixed/maintained? Why do you want your city’s infrastructure maintained, let alone built in the first place?

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            Cut to the chase, Mike….

            Does he want coffee every morning or no?

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            Trucks are an integral, key part of his rockin roll lifestyle, but he doesn’t realize it. Including his Starbucks.

          • 0 avatar
            nickoo

            Kenmore, truck driver for the federal gov is classed as motor vehicle operator, I pulled up 73 trucking and related jobs…try looking again.

          • 0 avatar
            nickoo

            Mike, stop being ridiculous, slave owners said the same thing back in 1840 about owning slaves and more recently Bush said we need illegals for jobs americans wont do, yet cotton farms still exist and once god emperor trump deports all the criminal guests we will still have food to eat. I gave an alternative to long haul trucking with more trains. Embrace effiencency.

          • 0 avatar
            Kenmore

            “motor vehicle operator”

            I’m on it!

            Thanks.

          • 0 avatar
            DenverMike

            If you know a better way, Walmart would love to know. Rail is used every time it’s feasible, the rest is your imagination. Local runs can only be done by truck, which is mostly what you’re looking at.

            I’ve never had a single run-in with a truck in 30+ years of driving, but I don’t cut them off, expect wide turns, and I stay clear of their blind spots. You may not even realize you’re cutting them off. The 80 or 100 ft of road in front of them may be their entire stopping distance.

          • 0 avatar
            VoGo

            I suspect Nickoo believes that everything for sale at Walmart grows on the roof at night, is harvested every morning and placed on the shelves.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      nickoo,
      What you suggest most likely occurs more than you think. I have seen many trains just loaded with containers.

      Your idea would cost the taxpayer money to subsidise it.

    • 0 avatar
      CoastieLenn

      I could be wrong, but I disagreed with his entire statement until I read the very last sentence/paragraph.

      His point (the way I read it) is to eliminate large trucks from the interstate highway system and solely use them in local delivery operations. This would mean expanding the rail system, which ironically is older in it’s heritage than the “buggy” (his words) system that he laments, being the trucking industry.

      I largely agree that large trucks hinder traffic progress and flow on the highways but I also think that limiting their speed will do nothing but compound the issue. Unless trucks go away from highway use completely- which will never happen, I don’t see how this could be fixed.

  • avatar
    Scoutdude

    The crazy thing is that the mfgs haven’t been putting speed limiters on the trucks that match the speed ratings of the tires. The F450 for example drew criticism from many due to its 81mph speed limiter. The reason that Ford set it to that speed was that is what tires with the load capacity for a MD (or HD) truck are designed for.

    The fact is that many trucks already have a speed limiter and that is a practice that goes back decades. I remember when we rented a big U-haul in the early 80’s and it was governed at 55mph. I’ve also rented a lot of big trucks from Ryder and they all had their speed limiter set to 68mph.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      “I remember when we rented a big U-haul in the early 80’s and it was governed at 55mph. I’ve also rented a lot of big trucks from Ryder and they all had their speed limiter set to 68mph.”

      But were those limiters mandated by the government?

      • 0 avatar
        Scoutdude

        No those limiters were of course done by the rental companies to protect themselves and their equipment.

        I was just pointing out that there are already many trucks on our roads with speed limiters and giving the reference point that current Ryder trucks are set at 68mph.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      Most heavy truck tires are designed for a 65 mph limit. You are asking the right question.

      This is why I think a 65 mph statutory limit and a 68 mph governor are about right.

      • 0 avatar
        operagost

        False. It’s generally 75, when there’s a rating printed.

        Maybe we really need a law mandating speed ratings on truck tires. I mean, they’re required on passenger tires.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    We need speed limiters for Autopilot!

    Right, Frank?

  • avatar

    Junk science, its been demonstrated by numerous studies that the safest way to travel is having all vehicles moving at nearly the same speed. Trucks passing each other already create huge rolling road blocks that I’ve seen backup auto traffic for miles. This will make the roads more congested and dangerous as folks aggressively try to pass each other.

    Plus this is already pointless. The federal government already times trucks between weigh stations to determine if their speeding and will issue them a ticket. So speeding on interstates by trucks is already very hard.

    Follow the money, who benefits from slower trucking and more congested roads? I can’t say it will save me any money on shipping costs.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      thecastle,
      Then the trucks that are impeding traffic flow should be fined. There so called freedom affects others.

      • 0 avatar

        I would agree if the police were interested in safety.. But I’ve never seen left lane, and passing laws enforced. Police only are interested in revenue generated enforcement that is easily proven.

        • 0 avatar
          CoastieLenn

          thecastle- depending on your location, interstate commerce vehicle laws are enforced by a specific branch of state patrol officers, known in many locations as “state transport police”. They’re the ones that usually deal with truckers. State Troopers are more interested in every day motorists in passenger cars and light trucks which greatly outnumber large commercial vehicles. I’d venture a guess that over 80% of all traffic incidents are involving one ore more passenger vehicles, nowhere effecting or caused by a commercial heavy vehicle.

          Your statement, while somewhat observationally correct, is also very “tin-foil hat”-ish. Revenue on fines on a case by case basis are ALWAYS more lucrative on heavy vehicles designated as “commercial”.

  • avatar
    Jerome10

    This is such a bad idea I can’t even believe it is being considered.

    1) Are speed limits not the jurisdiction of the states?

    2) Frankly, there ARE times when you need to be able to hit that throttle and speed up, and the most common is to complete a pass in under 5 minutes when the trucks are all going the same speed and blocking lanes. I realize “speeding” is viewed by all authorities to be the absolute worst, most dangerous thing on the roads that must be controlled (I mean used to generate revenue) but honestly, there really are times when it is safer to speed than not. Putting your foot into the accelerator and having nothing happens is dangerous.

    3) Speed differential is the biggest problem. Having 65mph trucks and 75-85mph cars is NOT a good idea. Period.

    4) I might bend a bit if they do not allow trucks in the left lanes on 2 lane interstates.

    Frankly, I do not see any issue with the current system. None. This is just absurd in my mind.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      Jerome10,
      It is if trucks stay in the correct lanes. Unlike the water with sail boats, etc, trucks because of their bulk shouldn’t be given any privileges.

  • avatar
    Fred

    How about limiters to keep them in their lanes?

  • avatar
    87 Morgan

    This is a stupid idea. I-80 in Utah is 80mph posted limit. So, most drive at 85 MPH following the usual 5 over rule of thumb. That would put the semis all 20 mph average under the flow of traffic, which to me, is dangerous.

  • avatar
    VoGo

    “Spencer added that speed limiters would prevent truck drivers from accelerating to avoid a dangerous situation.”

    In actual reality, how often are tractor trailers out-accelerating danger?

  • avatar
    dartman

    I very much like the California rule of 55mph for big trucks and vehicles towing trailers limited to 55mph and the right lanes. You don’t have the situation where two big rigs are taking an hour to pass one another. It also means the left lanes do not take as much of a beating and are in better shape. Single axle trucks (33k gvw) and buses are not restricted.

    With the largest US economy by far,(sorry Texas)and the 1st(LA) 2nd(Long Beach) and 4th (Oakland) busiest container ports in the US, the restrictions obviously haven’t been an issue. A national limit of 55 with restrictions to the right lanes and a governed maximum of 68 mph to allow reasonable passing times would level the playing field and make for a much improved and safer travel experience for all with little or no economic detriments.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      dartman,
      It’s simple.

      Not only trucks, but all vehicles not obeying the keep right or left on a multi-lane road with a speed limit of 80kph or 50mph are fined heavily.

      This is how the Autobahns work. People observe the law. This is not as evident in the US. And as you can see even many who comment here on TTAC appear to believe they are above or better than the law. Or the law is some communist plot to remove “their” freedoms.

    • 0 avatar
      shoshone

      As I have the misfortune to travel regularly between Sacramento and Los Angeles, I can tell you that trucks do regularly block passing for miles. One group will be running 58 or so, and the others want 60. They will block all lanes (only 2 on I5) for as long as it takes them to eak out the extra two minutes per hour time-saving.

      I stupidly tried to pass a group of these clowns on the median. They tried to kill me for daring to disrespect them. It’s the Truckers Road, we are just bugs.

  • avatar
    Jagboi

    I’ve been passed by a truck doing 180 km/h through a national park where the limit is 90 km/h. I think it made the RCMP officers day when I saw the truck pulled over a few miles after he blew past me. I guess if he hit any wildlife it would be vapourized at that speed.

    Europe has had speed limiters to either 80 km/h or 100 km/h on buses for years. They are also not allowed in the inside lane on the 3 lane motorways, so that lets car traffic pass. It works well there, I’d be in favour of limiting speeds on this side of the Atlantic.

  • avatar
    Big Al from Oz

    Trucks have been fitted with speed limiters here in Australia since the mid eighties. I see no problem with this. They are limited to 100kph.

    Initially the speed limiters were tampered with and now along with drivers logs they are closely scrutinised and fined heavily.

    I do believe speed limiting trucks to 60-65mph in the US is a good idea. This will save like the article suggested.

    Why doesn’t TTAC when presenting articles of this nature actually do a little research and present data regarding how these measures affected other countries.

    I find it funny all of these armchair experts here on TTAC “mouth off” with little research into the positives of such controls.

    Oh, I think any truck that weighs over 4.5 tonnes (10 000lbs) GVM is speed limited.

    • 0 avatar
      Spike_in_Brisbane

      Close Big Al but it’s 12 tonnes for trucks and 5 tonnes for buses.

      • 0 avatar
        Big Al from Oz

        Spike in Brisbane,
        Almost Spike;

        Heavy vehicle drivers.
        Speed limits. In NSW the maximum speed limit for a vehicle more than 4.5 tonnes Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) is 100 km/h. For certain road conditions, such as sharp bends, steep descents and winding roads, special speed limit signs may be posted for trucks, road trains and buses.Jun 18, 2015
        Speed limits – Heavy vehicles – Road rules – Safety & rules – Roads …
        http://www.rms.nsw.gov.au/roads/safety-rules/road-rules/heavy-vehicles/speed-limits.html

    • 0 avatar
      Lou_BC

      “I find it funny all of these armchair experts here on TTAC “mouth off” with little research into the positives of such controls.”

      The irony of it all.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    ““No technology can replace the safest thing to put in a truck, which is a well-trained driver,” he stated.”

    Mr. Spencer I can assure you we have top men working on replacing them right now.

    Top… men.

  • avatar
    Chocolatedeath

    SC’s portion of I95 has 2 lanes approximately 85-90 percent of the entire state.
    Forcing them to widen to 3 lanes to atleast 70 percent of the state would help.

  • avatar
    George B

    Normal 80 mph interstate traffic already gets gummed up when one truck with a speed limiter set to the speed limit attempts to pass another truck. Limiting truck speed at 15 mph to 20 mph below passenger car traffic creates deadly speed mismatches.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Speed_limits_in_the_United_States

  • avatar
    VoGo

    Tempest in a teapot. Within 10 years, speed limits will amount to a few lines of code in the autonomous trucks that will be dominant.

  • avatar
    Kenmore

    I’m bored.

  • avatar
    Big Al From 'Murica

    What a great idea! And think of all the gas we could save if we set the speed limit nationally to 55 MPH!

  • avatar
    Tandoor

    As long as truckers get paid by the mile 5-10 mph pays a grocery or utility bill. Maybe these big trucking companies could stop using the phony book rate to pay their drivers. Or they could pay a wage or salary. 32,000 deaths, 3600 involving large trucks. Trucks log about 10% of miles driven. There’s always going to be that one terrifying fool no matter what he is driving.

  • avatar
    theonlydt

    About time. I’m so sick of a tractor trailer blitzing past me at 130 down a hill, even overtaking dangerously on an undivided (single carriageway) road when I’m obeying the limit – and then grinding to a slow crawl on the hills. The absolute worse is the road between Bangor and the New Brunswick highway.

    They should be speed limited to 62mph (100kmh) across the board. Sections of highway where they must stay on the inside lane (to prevent tailbacks as they try to pass). In Europe they’re all limited and it’s so much safer.

    Fuel savings at 62mph over 70-75mph are significant – the “cost” complaint revolves around the extra time for the driver (and potentially pushing into a second driving day). I think that’s a small price to pay to force the industry to be safer.

  • avatar
    05lgt

    The real potential payoff is reduced road maintenance costs / better roads at the same cost. A 75 mph (or more) full weight semi beats the heck out of surfaces and structures. The engines and brakes have much improved over time, but the roads have gone the other way.

    • 0 avatar
      Big Al from Oz

      05lgt,
      What you are stating is very true regarding wear and tear on infrastructure.

      Here in Australia we don’t have 18 wheelers as the norm. Most every prime mover has a boggie drive and trailers with tri-axles. This is to reduce the damage to roads.

      • 0 avatar
        Lou_BC

        Big Al from Oz – multi-axle units will reduce wear and tear on the road only if they carry less weight. They don’t. Gross combined weight ratings are based upon the number of axles and tires you have under your unit. There are maximum weight limits based on tires and axles. An “18 wheeler” will have a significantly lower GCWR than a 10 axle truck/trailer combination.

    • 0 avatar

      Weight is the killer, not speed. Huge fines for overweight trucks are totally justified.

      • 0 avatar
        05lgt

        It’s both. Here’s an oversimplification that points to half of speeds damage- At the higher speed an imperfection throws the tire higher so it lands harder.

  • avatar

    After pickup trucks big rigs and commercial trucks are baddest sports cars on American roads. Competing with them is hopeless since you may not survive it.

  • avatar
    Zackman

    I honestly don’t know if that will help or not, because all too often, one of these semi driver knuckleheads will attempt to pass one of his brethren going one mile per hour slower, backing up everyone else.

    Force ALL semis and oversized dump trucks and other such vehicles off the road COMPLETELY during the hours 6-8 am and 4-6 pm. In other words, NO TRUCKS DURING RUSH HOURS EVER!

    Off my soapbox now… in 7 months I won’t have to worry about it anymore.

    Oh yeah – that goes for Fed-Ex & UPS, too.

    Rant over – I promise.

    • 0 avatar
      DenverMike

      The faster truck may be 1 mph over their ‘speed limit’. All it takes is 2 trucks for a convoy, and they’re taking turns drafting. It’s only fair.

      When you’re approaching and they’re all in the right lane, that’s your signal to pass. Step on it, you snooze you lose.

    • 0 avatar
      Jagboi

      I recall in Italy no trucks were allowed on the roads on Sundays – that was a very busy time for people taking day trips/weekends coming back to the cities.

      • 0 avatar
        manny_c44

        This is also the case in Slovenia, and maybe some other smaller EU countries that don’t have 3 lane highways. But banning a whole class of vehicle from the highways for the weekend sounds unamerican.

        At the very least the US has to get their passing laws in order, slow vehicles need to keep right, trucks should have lower limits and cars should be unrestricted or atleast allowed to go faster than 55/65 IMO.

        EU highways are paradise compared to roads like 495 or 95 during rush hour.

  • avatar
    VWGTI

    Having been a commercial driver, it doesn’t surprise me that the owner-operators are opposed to this. When you’re making payments on a $175,000 truck, the less time between loads, the better.
    BTW- for those of you who think all truck drivers are morons, try driving a 15-speed tractor pulling a 53 foot trailer in traffic sometimes- there are plenty of opportunities to screw up and ruin somebody’s day, especially since the car drivers around you generally don’t understand the physics involved in accelerating and stopping an 80,000 pound vehicle. it can be a real chess game.

  • avatar

    This is a bad idea, as it will increase speed variance between vehicles. This issue was studied under split limits for trucks, and generally anything that increases speed variance is bad for an interstate setting. While the speed killz crowd fixates on travel speeds, the variance is more important. Deviate from the average-85th percentile up or down and involvement increases. Safest is 5-7 mph above average. The perception that it is best to be overtaking just slightly is safest is correct. (Davy and Warren) Your risk in terms of accident involvement is the same at 55 as it is at 90 on a 65-70 mph road.

    What will happen is trucks with limiters try to pass…glacially, blocking the whole highway. Cars pile up behind, or….

    Limited truck in right lane. Clueless wonder in left lane. Clueless paces him/herself by the truck in right lane. Ignores cars stacking up in rear view mirror.

    Road Rage ensues…at least speaking personally.

    Inside baseball: fleets vs independents.

    • 0 avatar
      theonlydt

      Autobahn is fine with a vehicle at 56mph, another at 62mph, and then a BMW in the outside lane at 155mph. It takes some getting used to, but a speed limit for cars of 70mph and trucks at 62mph is easily manageable. Again, that’s basically the system in the UK.

      Your risk of being in an accident is not the same at 55mph as at 90mph – because braking distances are so greatly increased. Your margin of error if you hit a bad frost heave/pothole, patch of ice, standing water is significantly reduced (or zero) at those higher speeds.

  • avatar
    shaker

    If you haven’t noticed, there are certain highways, in the middle of the night, where you may be the only car in a sea of semi-trailers, and if you don’t drive with them/ahead of them/between them (no matter what the weather), you will be driving terrified while looking in your rear-view mirror.

    I speak of the Pennsylvania Turnpike between New Stanton and Breezewood, which carries Interstate 70 for that distance (around 100 miles).

    I was driving towards Pittsburgh that night, through the Laurel Mountains — it was raining/snowing, visibility was poor, but I couldn’t drive at a safe speed, as the trucks simply owned the road, and it seems like they were all running late, and didn’t appreciate me being in their way.
    Once I started driving faster than the trucks (essentially violating my own good sense), then it wasn’t an issue.

    Consequently, I once tailgated a semi for miles across the Ohio/Indiana Turnpike through heavy Lake Erie fog, as all I could see were the taillights 50 ft in front of me @ 60mph, while the semi driver’s elevated cab was over the thickest fog. Once, the fog got so thick, I lost those taillights and had to slow down to allow another semi (who overtook me way too quickly) to be my guide. (I dared NOT to stop on the berm) I considered pulling off until morning, but finally cleared the fog area.

    Needless to say, trucks and cars have an adversarial relationship on the roads…

    • 0 avatar

      I don’t see it that way. Most CDL driver are way more aware than minivan moms and if you have a long view of the traffic pattern, are easy to deal with. I’ve been given and have given courtesy. You can slow down, let the big guy go, and you’ll be cleared by the whole line of trucks because you were helpful.

      I have way more problems with local six wheel guys and contractors doing 30/55 while they talk on the cell phone looking for the client’s driveway.

  • avatar
    jacob_coulter

    Just have better laws that make semis stay in the right lane and police officers actually willing to write tickets for infractions would solve so many problems.

    Just about every time there is a congestion problem on the freeway its semi trucks attempting to weave in and out.

  • avatar
    rpol35

    Sounds like something the Association of American Railroads would have cooked up……….

    More like a repeat of circa 1973, 55 MPH mandated, nanny-state, finger wagging, intrusive government regulation that didn’t work.

    My experience with most CDL over-the-roaders is that they are a professional bunch that drive safely and pretty well within posted speed limits.

    A better solution would be enhanced enforcement against those that are problem causers and revocation for habitual violators.

    • 0 avatar
      cdotson

      I wonder if the big three automakers support this as well. They are reviving the class 3 torque wars and would all stand to benefit from an explosion in the hotshotter industry.

  • avatar
    Truckducken

    Every now and then it is essential for our beloved governmental bureaucracies to demonstrate that they are run by complete f*cking imbeciles. This is one of those times.

  • avatar
    Whittaker

    In the future, we may see mandatory speed limiters on all autos certified for the road.
    It will be linked to GPS and limit everyone except emergency vehicles to the local speed limit.
    There may be an manual override(for track use) but that will immediately send the data to law enforcement and result in a fine or worse if abused.

    If that happens, I won’t feel bad for the B&B who advocated speed limiters for professional truck-drivers.
    Good Lord, what is the logic for limiting professional drivers to 65 while allowing dentists(and their teenage sons) to drive Mustangs, Chargers and Corvettes that can easily top 150?
    If its stopping distance I guess we should limit trains to 5 MPH.

    • 0 avatar
      theonlydt

      Well, if you’re going to get serious about this then yes, cars should be speed limited. There should be two types of over-ride – a 30 second period when you pass 50% throttle (to “get yourself out of trouble”), and then a “race” mode.

      Citroens have a speed limiter the driver can set (that over-rides as per the first method above) that’s extremely useful. Set it to 76mph when you’re on the highway, and be assured that you can concentrate on the traffic flow and cars around you without constantly checking your speed.

  • avatar
    Jeff S

    Many vehicles already have some form of speed limiter. I discovered that my engine cut off when I hit 90 on my S-10 and resumed at 80. I can see the Government Regulators require a limiter on all vehicles. I am not saying that this is good or bad but it is possible.

  • avatar
    mcs

    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.

  • avatar
    PlaysInTraffic

    “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.

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