Time to require 65 mph speed limiters on all trucks, says association

Updated Apr 21, 2015
ATA: feds need to require speed limited to 65 mph

The nation’s largest trucking organization is once again calling on the federal government to make trucks slow down.

Today, the American Trucking Associations (ATA) renewed their call for the Department of Transportation (DOT) to require electronic speed limiters on all large trucks be set at no higher than 65 mph. The organization first asked the government for this rule some nine years ago.

“In 2006, as part of our longstanding commitment to highway safety, ATA petitioned the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to require the speed limiter on all large trucks be set in order to electronically limit their top speed to no more than 65 mph,” ATA President and CEO Bill Graves said. “We waited patiently until the government finally said in January 2011 they would move ahead with a speed limiter mandate, but this commonsense regulation has been mired in bureaucracy for over four years now. It is long past time for NHTSA and FMCSA to move ahead with this rule.”

In a statement today, the ATA said slowing trucks down will reduce the frequency and severity of crashes. It cited federal data that show driving too fast for conditions or over the posted speed limit was the primary reason for 18 percent of all fatal crashes where a large truck was deemed at fault. A speed limiter rule won’t prevent all of these crashes, but it will certainly help, said the ATA.

“In addition to slowing truck speeds, ATA believes in slowing down all traffic,” Graves said. “That’s why we back a national speed limit for all vehicles of 65 mph and are disturbed by the recent trend of states raising their speed limits to 70, 75, 80 or in some areas even 85 miles per hour. These limits are reckless and are needlessly endangering millions of motorists.”

Nationally, speed is a cause or factor in nearly 30 percent of all fatal crashes, the ATA said in its statement.

“We limit the speeds of our trucks to 65 mph,” said ATA Chairman Duane Long, chairman of Longistics, Raleigh, N.C., “because it makes good safety sense, and as a bonus, it makes good economic sense. Our safety record is better because we limit speeds, we use less fuel because we limit speeds and we spend less on repairs and maintenance of our trucks because we limit our speeds.”

“Even though roughly 70 percent of trucking companies use electronic limiters, that is not enough,” Graves said. “So we are again calling on NHTSA Administrator Mark Rosekind – who recently touted the benefits of speed limiters in the press, FMCSA General Counsel Scott Darling and Transportation Secretary Anthony Foxx to move this important regulation forward.

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“Further, I urge them to use their positions to push states to do the right thing – the safe thing – when it comes to speed limits for all vehicles and stem the dangerous tide of higher ones.”