New research released this week by the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration confirms the safety benefits of using technology to electronically govern and limit the top speed of commercial trucks.
“This study confirms what ATA has been saying for years – speed kills, and one of the most effective ways to prevent hundreds, if not thousands, of crashes on our highways is to slow all vehicles down, including large trucks,” said Bill Graves, American Trucking Associations president and chief executive officer.
Graves said ATA petitioned FMCSA and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration six years ago to mandate the use of speed limiters on all commercial motor vehicles manufactured since 1992 to save lives and make our industry safer. “This study strengthens ATA’s case and we call on both agencies to swiftly move forward with rulemakings to ensure that these devices are required on as many trucks as possible,” he said.
The study team, which included the American Transportation Research Institute and the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute, found that “multiple analyses indicated a profound safety benefit for trucks equipped with an active [speed limiter].” Further, the study concluded that complaints from critics of this technology were not substantiated by the data.
“Domain research on the potential downside of speed deviations among vehicles that could occur due to the interaction of [speed limiter]-equipped vehicles and those without [speed limiters] seems to be far outweighed by the significant safety benefits associated with a reduction in absolute speed afforded by [speed limiters],” the study said.
“Slowing down traffic is the most important step toward improving highway safety,” Graves said. For this reason, ATA’s policy calls for a national 65 mph speed limit for all vehicles, and ATA’s broad safety agenda calls for a speed limiter mandate.
“The Department of Transportation should be commended for sponsoring this comprehensive field study, and in addition to using its findings, it should be a model for how all safety regulations are researched and supported,” Graves said. “We hope in the future, DOT will have the political will to recognize that speed is the single-greatest contributor to highway crashes and prioritize its regulatory initiatives accordingly.”