Safety is an important issue that is much discussed in the trucking industry, and one of the latest ideas is to install speed limiters in commercial trucks. In fact, research distributed by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) shows that speed limiters do indeed make trucks safer on the road.
Why Do Proponents Support Speed Limiters?
As you might have guessed, one common factor in truck accidents is speed. It is already difficult for large trucks to stop easily, but it is even harder when they are speeding. In addition, due to both the speed and weight of many trucks involved in accidents, they are more likely to catch on fire than passenger vehicles on the road. In this way, slowing down trucks is perceived by many as a wise idea in order to improve safety.
One of the biggest supporters of installing speed limiters in trucks is American Trucking Associations (ATA). Roadsafe America and the Truckload Carriers Association are two other groups that also support the installation of speed limiters.
The study shows that trucks with speed limiters were 50 percent less likely to get into a speed limiter-relevant accident than trucks without this type of device. A speed limiter-relevant crash is one in which a speed limiter could have prevented the accident, since speed likely played a part.
Limiters would likely set the speed limit at about 65 miles per hour. Currently, anywhere from 60 to 80 fleets have speed limiters in place for their trucks already. If the FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration were to listen to the pleas of supporters like ATA, the groups would pass a mandate requiring every fleet to use speed limiters.
Why Do Some Oppose Speed Limiters?
One of the most common reasons that some carriers, and many drivers themselves, do not agree with the proposed mandate is that they want to be able to decide how fast to drive. They take issue with the government setting a limit that they cannot go over, no matter what.
An additional concern is that drivers will not be able to keep up with the flow of traffic. In many instances, 65 mph is far below what other drivers are doing, in which case trucks might impede traffic. There are even highways with speeds of 75 mph, which means drivers would have to stay under the limit.
However, safety advocates still encourage the use of speed limiters in every truck since they claim the increased safety is worth the possibility of driving a little too slowly for traffic. Both proponents and opponents of speed limiters will have to wait for a decision to be made in the coming months.
Speeding is the #1 cause of accidents in the United States. It is the cause most often cited by investigators when the cause of an accident can be determined. Speeding is also the leading factor contributing to the severity of accidents. Vehicles going faster cause more damage (and more injuries and fatalities) than vehicles traveling slower. It’s simple physics. It’s undeniable. It’s common sense.
Many folks would like you to believe that speeding is a ‘victimless crime’. It couldn’t be further from the truth. Speeders put everyone else on the road at greater risk… including their own passengers.
Consider the ‘soccer mom’ speeding to get junior to soccer practice. She places everyone on the road as well as her own child at risk to avoid being late. How ridiculous would that sound following an accident in which junior or someone else is killed? Speeding is not the answer to today’s hectic world.
Too many people today simply don’t leave home in time to get to work without speeding… not just occasionally… but every day. Speeding is now the norm and there is no excuse for it. It places everyone on the road at greater risk.
Speeding vehicles travel further in the time it takes the driver to recognize that a hazard exists. [Recognition is the first part of avoiding a hazard. Couple speeding with driving distracted and the consequences are multi-fold.] Speeding vehicles travel further in the time it takes drivers to react to a recognized hazard. And finally, speeding vehicles travel further after the brakes are applied than vehicles driving slower.
So tell me again, what’s your excuse for speeding? What’s your excuse for putting my life at risk? What’s your excuse for putting your family at risk? A few minutes late for work? Soccer practice? An appointment? A load? Speeding is not a victimless crime. There is no excuse that doesn’t ring hollow after the crash has occurred. A crash that could have been avoided but for the excessive speed you were traveling. There are no words to console the family of the person injured or killed as a result of your excessive speed. Your own child?
Slow down and live. Hurry up and die. Your choice.
Written by: Kevin Mullen; Director- Safety, Human Resources & Recruiting