GRAIN VALLEY, Mo. — The Owner-Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has accused the US feds of pandering to big business by considering mandating speed limiters on heavy-duty trucks.
The group was responding to a Jan. 26 announcement that the US Department of Transportation would consider requiring speed limiters on all large trucks, limiting them to 68 mph. The announcement, according to OOIDA, was “just one more example of how big business controls the national agenda to the detriment of many.”
“Since very few highway accidents involving trucks take place at speeds greater than 68 mph, you don’t have to be a highway safety expert to conclude a singular focus on truck speed could hardly produce a safety breakthrough,” said OOIDA executive vice-president, Todd Spencer. “But, that’s not how it works in Washington, DC, where perception is spun to be reality.”
OOIDA says the large carriers that are behind the movement towards speed limiters are using the issue as a smoke screen.
“The big companies want government approval to run longer and heavier trucks all over the country. The speed limiter proposal is like putting lipstick on that idea,” Spencer said.
He said carriers are free to govern their own trucks, but it should not be an industry-wide requirement.
“They want a government mandate to do it, however, because they know their drivers, whom they pay only for miles driven, would move to another company with a less restrictive speed policy,” Spencer said. “And they want to deny shippers the option of choosing trucking companies that place a higher priority on on-time service.”
Safety, Spencer said, has little to do with the push for the mandatory use of speed limiters.
“There is nothing desirable about turning trucks into rolling roadblocks and obstacles for other drivers,” Spencer said. “Slower isn’t safer. Every year, NHTSA accident data shows that cars are far more likely to run into the backs of trucks than the other way around. Real highway safety experts have always known that highways are safest when all vehicles travel at the same speed.”
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