WASHINGTON, D.C. — Reports surfaced yesterday that the US National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is looking to initiate a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking that would require trucks to activate speed limits.
Truckinginfo.com, the Web site for US-based Heavy-Duty Trucking, reported the official announcement will come Monday. Ontario and Quebec already require the mandatory use of speed limiters.
The Owner-Operators Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA), which actively lobbied against the Canadian speed limiter laws, was quick to condemn the impending proposal.
“Speed limiting a truck at 68 miles per hour, or at any other speed, will not improve highway safety,” said Todd Spencer, executive vice-president of the OOIDA. “All credible highway research shows that highways are safest when all vehicles travel at the same speed and that different speeds for cars and trucks actually increase the likelihood of accidents.”
OOIDA pointed to a University of Arkansas study that showed speed differentials create more dangerous interactions betweens cars and trucks and a study by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute that showed speed-limited trucks are overrepresented in rear-end fatalities involving large trucks. That study, OOIDA said, indicated only 4% of trucks in the study were speed-limited, yet they accounted for half of the rear-end fatalities involving trucks.
In a press release, OOIDA repeated its Canadian argument that a speed-limiter law is politically motivated and doesn’t address the real issues about highway safety, such as the adequate training of drivers.
“Hiring the most experienced drivers and paying them professional wages isn’t a priority for most large motor carriers and it’s cheaper to just govern the engine,” Spencer said. “This isn’t a safety measure NHTSA is proposing. It’s a permission slip for big trucking companies to remain unaccountable.”
The American Trucking Associations has been lobbying for a speed limiter law.
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