Grain Valley, Mo. — The Owner-Operator Independent Driver’s Association (OOIDA) believes a recent proposal by the American Trucking Association (ATA) to set speed limiters at 68 mph on all new trucks could make roadways more dangerous for drivers of all vehicles.
The ATA announcement to request the speed of trucks limited to 68 mph at the time of manufacture came in mid-February, as the speed limiter debate was peaking north of the border.
The speed limiter proposal by the Ontario Trucking Association is seeking to have all trucks operating in the province limited to 105 km/hr. The ATA however, is seeking to have limiters in place at the time of manufacture, with no official legislation requiring truck owners to keep the pre-set limit.
OOIDA has consistently opposed speed limiters because highway safety studies have repeatedly shown that creating speed differentials between trucks and other vehicles makes roadways more dangerous.
“It may sound like a good thing to some to slow down all the big trucks,” says Todd Spencer, OOIDA executive vice-president. “But unless you slow down all the other vehicles too, you’ve really only made things more dangerous. That’s why some states are increasing previously lower speeds for trucks.”
OOIDA believes it is simply not logical to require speed limiters for truckers, but not on drivers of light vehicles, using statistics from a study in Washington last year to illustrate its position.
The state received a federal grant to develop a test program that included posting troopers in trucks to catch drivers that were speeding and driving dangerously. Of the nearly 5,000 tickets issued, 86 per cent were handed out to cars.
OOIDA recognizes excessive speeding is a legitimate subject of concern. It is dangerous, illegal and tends to result in more severe accidents. However, highway safety engineers have long recognized that highways are safest when all vehicles are traveling at the same speed, says the association.
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