For nearly a decade, road safety advocates -- including Roadsafe America and the American Trucking Associations -- have been working diligently to convince federal agencies such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration to introduce a lower national speed limit for the nation's trucking fleet.
While these admirable efforts have been largely stymied thanks to a regulatory structure of byzantine complexity, a breakthrough actually came earlier today when the NHTSA and FMCSA announced a new proposal.
What exactly does the proposal call for?
The proposal calls for all vehicles weighing over 26,000 pounds -- trucks, buses, etc. -- to be equipped with electronic speed limiting devices that physically prevent a driver from going faster than 60, 65 or 68 miles-per-hour.
Why did the NHTSA and FMCSA take this step?
The NHTSA and FMCSA indicated that introduction of what amounts to a lower national speed limit for trucks would help lower the 1,115 fatal truck accidents that take place on average here in the U.S. every year and lower fuel costs by an impressive $1 billion.
Does this mean that we're going to see a lower national speed limit for trucks become a reality sooner than later?
Not necessarily. The proposal is now subject to public comment for the next 60 days. Once this is finished, officials with both agencies will meet to discuss what the speed limit should be and, far more importantly, whether the proposal should be adopted.
Wouldn't this prove to be unduly expensive?
Both the NHTSA and the FMCSA indicate that the expense likely wouldn't be too great given that almost much of the nation's trucking fleet is already outfitted with electronic speed limiters that have yet to be activated.
How does the trucking industry view the proposal?
As we stated earlier, the influential American Trucking Associations has long supported the adoption of a lower national speed limit for trucks. This isn't to say, however, that all trucking groups are on board with the idea.
Indeed, the 157,000-plus-member Owner Operator Independent Drivers Association has expressed serious concern that mandatory speed limiting devices will create hazardous scenarios between faster moving cars and slower-moving trucks. In other words, it's concerned that not allowing trucks to move with the flow of traffic will create dangerous speed differentials.
Stay tuned for updates ...
If a negligent trucker or trucking company has caused you or your family unimaginable harm, consider speaking with a skilled legal professional to learn more about your rights and your options.