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Speed Limiters: Safety Boon or Traffic Doom?

You are currently viewing Speed Limiters: Safety Boon or Traffic Doom?
Speed limiters on trucks would prohibit them from exceeding a set speed.
  • Post category:Blogs

Speed limiters are a controversial technology in the trucking world. Simply put, they limit the speed at which truckers can drive. Originally introduced by the FMCSA in 2016, speed limiters are back on the docket for federal regulations. So, what does this technology do for truckers and drivers? And what are the potential drawbacks of adopting it on a federal level?

Pro: They make the roads safer for everyone

Advocates for the use of speed limiters say that they keep the roads safer for truckers and other drivers alike. Truckers have to drive for long stretches of time and distance, making them vulnerable to losing track of their speed. This phenomenon even has a term in the industry: lead foot. Installing a speed limiter provides additional assurance that a truck will not exceed certain speeds.

High-speed trucks can be some of the most deadly vehicles on the planet. Because of their size, they can be very difficult to slow down in the event of an impending crash. Limiters would prevent trucks from surpassing a certain speed, reducing the chance of a major accident significantly. This both reduces the prevalence and severity of collisions, which can be deadly for people and businesses alike.

Con: They may aggravate traffic and cause dangerous speed differentials

However, not all in the trucking industry are convinced that speed limiters are worth their potential drawbacks. Trucking industry lobby groups like the American Trucking Association tentatively support limiters, though only if their top speed allowed is higher than most safety advocates would like. Limiting trucks to speeds in the low 60s, which the FMCSA previously considered, would create unnecessary congestion, they say.

In addition, some truckers worry that this technology could actually create danger. Forcing trucks to drive below a certain speed ignores the reality that some places drive faster culturally than others, like on long stretches of straight highway through the desert. In these areas, going slower creates speed differentials between trucks and other drivers that can create unsafe driving environments.

The FMCSA is still in the process of weighing the pros and cons of this policy. Hopefully, it will listen to truckers before making a decision that weighs on the entire industry.

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