Speed Limiters Coming to Trucking?

November 1st, 2016 by

Most modern cars have a speed limiter. This electronic device monitors the engine conditions and prevents the vehicle from accelerating any harder. In some cases, these tools actually remove power from the car and cause it to slow down.
Although they’re not closely regulated in the United States, they’re still common and explain why most consumer vehicles can’t come anywhere close to the top speed on their speedometers. Most people never even notice this, however, since they’re restricted at speeds well above 100 mph. But what about speed limiters for large trucks?

Moves From the Obama Administration

In August, a new proposal came to light from the Transportation Department’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration. The organizations suggested all freight trucks should have a standard limit on speed.


The initial proposal said that they were looking for caps at 60, 65, or 68 miles an hour. They did say they would consider other limits based on input from the public. They also claimed that a measure like this would save over $1 billion in fuel and thousands of lives.


The Numbers Behind the Proposal

There are nearly 4,000 fatal accidents involving big trucks every year, in combination with many times more injuries. 1,000 of those fatal accidents are due to speeding trucks. Putting a limit on their speed would keep drivers in check, since their per-mile wages often compel them to go faster.


Trucks are most efficient at around 45 mph. Anything higher cuts into efficiency, becoming worse as the speed increases. A limit this low is impractical for highway speeds, but even a small percentage can add up over a year (most tractor trailers go through more than 20,000 gallons of fuel annually).


What Speed Limiters Would Mean for Drivers

Should the proposal become law, there will be some changes to adapt to. Drivers will likely spend more hours on the road than before, especially if they were traveling over interstates. The projected decrease in fuel cost, however, may allow some companies to hire additional workers or offer a wage increase.


For truck manufacturers, things would be a bit different. All new models would have to be fitted with a speed limiter before they could be sold. This would most likely come along with a slight increase in cost to offset the price of materials and labor involved. Until a decision is made, you can submit your comments directly to the Federal Register.

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