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DOT planning speed limiters for trucks


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Claims Journal / May 1, 2014

The Department of Transportation (DOT) is seeking to mandate the use of speed limiters on trucks weighing over 26,000 pounds and traveling on roads with a speed limit of at least 55 mph.

The department’s March 2014 “Report of Significant Rulemaking” states the new rule may take effect by October of this year.

The DOT has not commented on the speed to which the heavy trucks would be limited, but previous proposals had included a limit of 68 mph.

Advocates say that the rule would eliminate approximately 1,115 fatal crashes and require minimal investment by carriers since most heavy trucks already have limiters on board.

The American Trucking Association (ATA) has asked for limiters on all new trucks, and the safety advocacy group Road Safe America (RSA) has proposed retrofitting all vehicles manufactured since 1990.

Many fleets already limit the speed of their trucks with electronic governors.

In the U.S., the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) began looking at mandatory speed limiters on heavy-duty trucks in 2011. Two petitions for rulemaking were originally brought in 2006 by the ATA and the RSA, joined by nine motor carriers – Schneider National, Inc., C.R. England, Inc., H.O. Wolding, Inc., ATS Intermodal, LLC, DART Transit Company, J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc., U.S. Xpress, Inc., Covenant Transport, Inc., and Jet Express, Inc.

The petition stated that a key strategy in preventing large truck fatal crashes is to reduce the top travel speed of the fleet. They cite studies showing that large trucks moving at high speeds have much longer stopping distances than the same trucks operated at lower speeds. Fatal crashes involving trucks are more prevalent on higher speed roadways, with 73 percent of traffic fatalities involving large trucks traveling on roads with a posted speed limit of 55 mph or higher.

According to reports issued by the NHTSA and Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration, and the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), large trucks are involved in fewer accidents than other types of vehicles per 100 million miles driven, but these accidents have a higher rate of fatalities.

The DOT reports that:

  • There were more than 1.1 million interstate motor carriers including for-hire, owner operators and private carriers (business fleets) as of December 2010.
  • In 2007 (last available data), the Commodity Flow Survey reported that trucks hauled more than $8.3 trillion worth of goods.
  • Approximately 11 billion tons of freight is moved each year.
  • In 2009, 529 large truck occupants were killed in crashes.
  • In 2009, 20,000 large truck occupants were injured.
  • Annually, approximately 500,000 accidents involving trucks occur.
  • In 2010, there were 1.1 fatal crashes per 100 million truck miles.

Though the statistics vary depending on who is issuing the report, the commonality is that truck crashes are rising and often involve a fatality. The IIHS reports that in 2010:

  • 286,585 million miles were traveled by trucks.
  • 3,413 people died in accidents involving large trucks.
  • 14 percent of the deaths were occupants in the truck.
  • 72 percent of the deaths were occupants in a different vehicle.
  • 13 percent of the deaths were people on motorcycles, walking, or riding bicycles.
  • The number of fatalities rose by 8 percent compared to 2009.
  • Large trucks accounted for 4 percent of registered vehicles but 9 percent of motor vehicle crash deaths.
  • 75 percent of truck accidents involving fatalities were tractor-trailers and 25 percent were single large trucks.

The DOT did a detailed study called “The Large Truck Crash Causation Study” to analyze truck crashes occurring between 2001 and 2003. It reported that events that led to crashes included:

  • loss of control of the truck after driving due to some event like a tire blowout;
  • disabling or non-disabling vehicle failure – engine problem or hood flew up;
  • another motor vehicle encroaching on the truck’s lane;
  • poor road conditions due to poor road maintenance or weather;
  • traveling too fast for road conditions;
  • shifting cargo;
  • lane drifting – either truck or passenger vehicle;
  • driving off the edge of the road;
  • improper truck maneuvering during events (turns and passing through intersections);
  • coming upon a stopped vehicle;
  • finding objects on the highway; and
  • driver fatigue.

Reports show that 61 percent of fatalities occur on major roads other than interstate highways. Trucks often weigh as much as 30 times more than a passenger vehicle, so the smaller vehicle’s passengers are more likely to die in an accident involving a large truck.

Tractor-trailers also require more stopping distance, especially when loaded, and need a correspondingly increased amount of time to react in order to avoid a crash.

Many truck drivers are opposed to the new proposals. The Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association (OOIDA) has made excellent counter-arguments which boil down to, “Be careful what you wish for.”

OOIDA argues that studies show that speed differentials lead to more collisions, so it’s safer to keep traffic moving at the same speed – something everybody who has pulled behind a truck traveling in the fast lane and trying to pass trucks in the slow lane traveling only 1-2 mph slower than their vehicle will attest to. Trucks all governed similarly won’t be able to pass each other.

OOIDA also cites studies which say that car drivers (usually losing patience with slow-moving trucks) cause most of the collisions with big trucks when there is a fatality.

OOIDA also notes that large trucks are not over-represented in fatal accidents. While they are only 3 percent of all vehicles, they drive 9 percent of all miles driven and are involved in about 11 percent of all fatal crashes.

Lastly, OOIDA says that it is the states’ rights to set speed limits.

According to the DOT the proposed speed limiter rule is slated to be sent to Secretary of Transportation Anthony Foxx for approval this month and then sent to the White Houses’ Office of Management and Budget in June. If it succeeds, the rule could be published as a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking in October. Fleets love them, and drivers hate them. But one thing is sure – the debate is not likely to end if the proposal is enacted. In fact, that’s when it will begin.

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Are they just trying to starve us to death here? Most trucking companies are either on electronic log or gonna probably have to go on electronic log "eventually", but with an e log and a goverened 55mph truck your barely gonna get 600 miles in an 11 hour period. That turns into getting at least 1 less load a week, and it's not like we are becoming rich out here anyway, but the point is that we all will be affected by this. Another thing is can you imagine going up I-81 with trucks cut back even slower than what they are now? I believe this would cause more accidents than anything with trucks cut back because of the 4 wheelers slamming into the back of a truck because they are running 70mph or faster and texting or whatever but this is just my opinion

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This message was brought to you by Hargraves Potted Meat Product. Chopped full of "Peckers & Lips" since 1933 - John Boy & Billy

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Holy mackerel, when is someone gonna finally go by the common sense rule? If a situation like this backs up traffic for miles,

just imagine how much worse it's gonna be when everybody is running at the same speed. What a fuster cluck that's gonna be!

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Producer of poorly photo-chopped pictures since 1999.

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We have had limiters on trucks up here ( Ontario, Canada ) for years. It sure messes up traffic when one truck is passing another, and there is only a difference of a couple miles per hour.

Our limit is 105 Km, aprox. 65 mph.

When it first started they would check the computer in your truck to make sure it was limited.

They do not know how to limit mechanical engines easily , so my old R's are not limited. Wouldn't matter anyway….. top speed in my

85 RD is 55 mph


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I'm limited to 105 (104 on gps), and it's a pain on the highway. Like snow dog said, if I'm doing 100 in the right lane and I come up on "someone" doing 98, when I go to pass it TAKES FOREVER!!!!! The old r isn't limited...I got it to 115 on gps once....I've also done 117 in my granite....down a hill....with a load on....and my foot on the throttle to keep the engine brake off lol

Lack of planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part....

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There is a YouTube clip that argues the opposite.... That Limiters kill... If you're always running against a limiter (which most people will if they're put into effect) then there is no power left for an emergency situation.

Good ole Benny Parsons narrating.

Ed Smith

1957 B85F 1242 "The General Ike"

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"OOIDA also cites studies which say that car drivers (usually losing patience with slow-moving trucks) cause most of the collisions with big trucks when there is a fatality."

So fuel costs are rising, Carbon Tax is going into effect soon and limiters mean 1 or more less loads . . . but we are helping create jobs by FUBAR.


 “Life’s journey is not to arrive at the grave safely, in a well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, totally worn out, shouting ‘Holy shit, what a ride!’


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"Report of Significant Rulemaking" from the "Let's Skew The Facts In Our Favor And Come Up With A Non-Sensible Rule To Justify Our Jobs" department. You folks already pointed out why this is a bad idea but unfortunately those in power only see what they want to see.

I drive a truck governed at 65 mph and nobody is going to tell me that I would not be less likely to be involved in a collision if I were able to run just a mile or two an hour faster, especially since many of the interstates I travel have 70 mph limits. Fortunately there are trucks on the road that are not governed which reduces the amount of vehicles in the "fuster cluck"-Other Dog 2014.

Fatal crashes involving trucks are more prevalent on higher speed roadways, with 73 percent of traffic fatalities involving large trucks traveling on roads with a posted speed limit of 55 mph or higher.

Isn't that where roughly 73 percent of the large trucks can be found?


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I think there trying to take the focus off the post office and the term "going postal"

Now it will be truckers gone "terminal"!!! all it will take is a 4 wheeler screwing up and the big ass wreck that will happen because no one can leave room for safety and then the press telling all the world that a 18 wheeler took out a family.

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  • 3 weeks later...

In Europe it's also causing problems when trucks are limited. Trucks are limited at 88 km per hour or 55 mph. This causes trucks to take long to pass each other and call it jumbo racing. It has caused more accidents but wasn't corrected drivers are frustrated but Goverment rules.

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