A federal proposal to mandate speed limiters on all heavy-duty trucks is meeting with overwhelmingly negative comments.
The Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration published its proposal in the Federal Register recently and solicited comments from the public and especially the trucking community. Thus far, more than 5,400 comments have been posted online. Comments can be made online until June 3.
The comments reflect the results of two Truckers News polls. We asked, "Will you leave the industry if speed limiters become mandatory?" The results included:
- 73% agreed with the statement, "Yes, it'll be the last straw."
- 16% agreed with, "No, I already have one activated on my truck."
- 11% agreed with, "No, I'll just deal with it."
When FMCSA in April first announced its intent to seek a rule allowing speed limiters, fully 77% of respondents to another Truckers News called it a "bad idea."
Many of the comments made online in response to the FMCSA's formal posting were sharp and to the point. Numerous of those opinions suggested that instead of improving highway safety, a major contention of speed limiter supporters, they would make things worse. Others who posted comments said they would undermine needed supp[ly chain improvements, endanger the motoring public and cause any number of problems for truckers. While other posters suggested that it was other drivers, not truckers, that caused most highway problems, including fatal accidents.
Here's a selection of some of the comments left so far. Some have been edited for the sake of brevity and for clarification.
Michael Strieter: “Speed limitations on commercial vehicles are hazardous to drivers and the motor vehicles around them. Speed limiters create difficult to pass situations along with merging slower than highway speeds”
Karl Wendtand: This is a stupid idea, the danger of more accidents from cars hitting trucks will go up more if you do this. I own my truck and even though it will go much faster I drive it at the speed that gives me the best safety and fuel mileage. I have over 42 years on the road and have never had an accident or even a ticket in 30 years. If you really want to lose the older and safer drivers then pass this regulation. The driver shortage will increase by over 50% and you will destroy this industry.
John Cochran: This idea is horrible. Just because it looks good on paper, it doesn't mean it's safe. If all trucks are going the same speed, cars will get mad and try to get around no matter the risk they take. It's a very bad idea and will further cripple the industry. Stop trying to control our every move. We aren't robots.
Jeff Burleson: Instead of addressing the issue of distracted driving by four-wheelers and big truck drivers alike, you guys want to restrict the movement of trucks even more with speed limiters. Speed limiters are extremely dangerous, just take a look at the states with split speed limits.
Tyler DeBarr: Trucking companies and owner-operators should determine how fast they want their trucks to go, not the government. Instead of limiting speed why not step up enforcement of reckless behavior of passenger vehicle drivers as well as commercial drivers?
Alicia Kidd: The industry is overregulated as it is. Limiting speed is not the answer, it's only gonna cause more congestion and less reaction time for drivers. If your gonna target big trucks then regulate ALL vehicles on the road.
Stephen Klemchuk: Speed limiters on commercial vehicles are not going to be effective. What would be effective is more training and dare I say it, more law enforcement on the roads. I propose that instead of limiters, you force every driver of any type of vehicle to be retrained everytime they have to renew their license. In the military, we trained and trained and trained. Not because we had nothing better to do, but instead so we can become more efficient in our skills.
Robert Sloan: I’ve been a commercial driver for nearly 20 years. The most dangerous thing I have seen in my career is the use of split speed limits and having governed trucks running on a highway where the average vehicle is running 20+ mph faster than the governed truck. Split speed limits and governors kill. Governors cause congestion, road rage, cause unnecessary wrecks because of being a larger slower moving target and do nothing to improve fuel economy.
Jacob Ganyer: The vast majority of accidents between CMVs and personal vehicles are caused by the drivers of the personal vehicles. Why are CMVs being targeted for speed limiting devices, but not the vehicles being operated by the vastly more dangerous drivers? This is clearly absurd.
Annie Allen: Unsure who, or why someone would think this could even possibly be a bright idea. No, no, and positively no. We need to be able to run our trucks to the speed limits!
Sandra Welch: I’ve been driving an 18-wheeler for 28 years. And I have driven speed governed trucks. And when I can’t do the posted speed in most states it causes stress all around. The cars that come up behind me on two-lane roads can’t get around safely, and when they do most are so angry that I either get flipped off or they brake check me. Where’s the safety in that?
Dave Delle: Do NOT put mandatory speed limiters on the trucks. They cause more harm than good. They will increase traffic problems with trucks not being able to pass other trucks quickly and cleanly. This will also lead to an increase in road rage incidents.
Kevin Mulligan: Please, to the FMCSA, don't listen to the big lobbyists in Washington. I as an independent driver understand that the major reason the ATA wants this is to help push independents out of the trucking industry. This will only make the FMCSA look foolish, make the roads more dangerous and allow big trucking companies (to) continue to pay low wages.
Jason Roberts: Governing a truck can actually make it more unsafe. I am a safe driver (with) over 2 million miles. They just want the last of the old school drivers to quit. Cars and trucks speed up on you when passing. Seems like they are not interested in safety.
Matt Strickland: Horrible idea! This will cause unsafe driving conditions and way more road rage than imaginable. Trucks will be clogging the interstates up riding beside one another. It will contribute to the goods shortage, because trucks won’t be able to deliver as fast, and also a lot of truck drivers will quit, hurting the industry and worsening the driver shortage.
Delbert Smith: I travel on highways with a speed limit of 80 MPH. I am running 70 MPH and weekly I almost get rear-ended by cars catching me too fast. If I get limited to an MPH any less it will be unsafe to travel those highways.
Hollyn Faille: This is a terrible idea. A lot of companies already have speed limiters. There will be tons of congestion everywhere. Stores will experience major shortages. Trucks are not the problem.
Justin Manning: As a truck driver I believe speed limiters are dangerous but if one must be implemented I think 75 mph is a fair limit. The ability to pass and make adjustments while driving is a must.
Chris Zullo: Absolutely not a good idea. Most super carriers impose a limiter of 65 or less making more traffic, more frustration, and more traffic and makes vehicles that can not even do the speed limit in some states.
Shahid Alinrahimi: I’ve been driving a truck for 18 years and I don’t usually go above 65 mph regardless of the speed limit. I go 65 mph or less for safety and fuel economy, however, having my truck governed at 65 or something around that is the most ridiculous thing that I can think of, because I almost daily use the option to go a little faster for a minute or two to pass another truck in a timely manner or for other traffic and safety-related reasons.
Nathaniel Houlmiere: Regulating the speed of trucks will not prevent accidents. It will not prevent you from taking a turn too fast, or not paying attention and hitting someone. The answer is better training. How to achieve that is a good question open for debate.
Eric Duncan: Speed limiters will be an extremely dangerous move that will cause nothing but traffic accidents and congestion. Traffics is much safer when all vehicles travel at the same speeds.
Oswaldo Castillo: Speed is not the problem here. The majority of accidents are caused by non-CDL drivers. If the FMCSA limits truck speeds, not only is this going to cause a traffic hazard on the roads by having all these slow trucks sharing the same roads as other vehicles but it will also make traffic and overall road congestion much worse. A lot of non-CDL drivers are already aggressive drivers when they are around trucks and making trucks slower will only make this problem worse.
Samantha Taylor: So when are we going to see limiters on cars? Crashes and recklessness are caused by them. My truck is governed at 70. I pay my truck payments. I am a single truck owner. You people don't pay my bills (so) you have no right to determine what speed my truck is governed.
Eldwin Ruiz: I recommend the speed limiter be set to the steer tire speed rating75 MPH. Commercial drivers should not exceed the safety rating of their equipment.
Steven Skinner: I'm an OTR truck driver, and before that a tow truck driver, I have been in some form or another a professional driver/operator for over 23 years. If you want more accidents and road rage incidents then by all means limit truck drivers' speed. If a truck is governed at a much slower speed than non-commercial vehicles, it will cause serious traffic hazards and will be unsafe for a CMV to be able to change lanes, avoid obstacles in the road or even move over for emergency vehicles on the shoulder.
Travis Widener: I’m a company driver and we are set at 65 and I’m at risk of causing an accident. I have to ride in the right lane and always lose my speed every time a car merges on the highway. I’m having to slow down and can’t get over because I then have people blowing horns, flipping me off and cussing me on the radio because I’m slowing them down. it’s very dangerous. The speed should be 75 in all trucks. I think that’s reasonable.
Cameron Erickson: As a truck driver of 5 years, with about 800,000 miles under my belt, I have driven several trucks that were governed anywhere from 65 mph to 80 mph and several ungoverned trucks. I know what the intended purpose for a speed governor is, however in my professional opinion they have no safety purpose other than to increase driver fatigue and overall tiredness.
Kathy Calvert: Leave the truck drivers alone. Let them drive the speed limit. If they break the law give them a ticket.
Brad Arenmds: Putting speed limiters on trucks would be a terrible thing. It would bottle up traffic making already congested roads more congested.
Doug Mckenzie: It has already been proven that split speeds are dangerous. Ohio and Virginia among other states have confirmed that split speed limits are unsafe. I've been trucking for 33 years with no speed limiters and have never had an accident. The problem is that laws are being made and pushing anyone with experience out of the business. The ATA needs to quit lobbying for the large carrier interests and quit trying to push the small professional companies and drivers out for financial gain.
Katrina Hillard: As a 10-year driver, I am strongly opposed to this for many, many reasons. The primary reason is safety. Several studies have shown (as per OOIDA), that having the same general speed for all vehicles on a road is by far the safest for all. I cant even imagine the hell that this proposition would cause. I definitely would be done with driving if I had to deal with this hot mess.
Mike Paluszewski: I’ve never taken the time in 23 years of professional driving to comment on any industry issues. Speed limiters will do nothing except cause more problems on an overly crowded road system. Making all trucks do the same slow speed limit will cause more frustration and accidents. If this rule comes to fruition, I personally will leave the industry. Please just say no to speed limiters.